Post: Things to know about collaborative fiction

collaborative fiction

Think of the many tasks and duties or projects in the workplace that are easier to accomplish when working as a team rather than individually. For example, if you work for a large advertising company and have been given a deadline that doesn’t allow much time, working as a team can help. Each team member can focus on a separate aspect of the project. Teamwork helps improve creativity, increase productivity and avoid the burnout that often sets in when one person is trying to wear all the hats. Collaborative fiction is a writing style that does the same thing with a novel. 

Collaborative fiction occurs when several authors join forces to take control of a story. From a book critic’s perspective, collaboration might not be the most desired form of writing. It’s challenging to provide a personal critique of a writer’s work because there’s no way to know which author wrote which parts of the book. Many writers, however, enjoy collaborating, much like musicians often enjoy writing songs together. 

Choose how to approach your collaborative fiction story

To produce quality work when collaborating on a fiction novel, it’s best to have a group meeting ahead of time. There are many ways to approach this type of project. The process will run more smoothly if everyone’s on the same page (no pun intended, lol) and understands their specific role. This list shows several ways to write a story through collaboration: 

  • Each author writes a chapter.
  • Each author focuses on a separate character. 
  • Each author writes their own subplot, then everyone compares notes and discusses how to merge the stories into one. 
  • One author starts writing, then “passes the torch” to the next at a random point in the story, until the end.
  • Each writer focuses on an aspect of the story, such as dialogue, setting, scenery, etc.

You might incorporate several of these approaches into one collaborative fiction project. There are no rules. Whatever works for your team is fine. 

Choosing your collaboration partners

When you are writing a story with a group of authors, you must be able to work as a team. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have team members who differ greatly in their writing styles. On the contrary, if you can work well together, the variety can add spice and interest to the story. You’ll want partners who share your vision and purpose for a story. It’s important to have team members who will listen to each writer’s ideas and compromise as needed. Remember that it’s all about collaboration, not competition.

If you want to collaborate and aren’t sure how to find co-authors, you can ask a publisher you’ve worked with in the past to make recommendations. You can also post an advertisement of sorts on social media, saying that you’re looking for writers to partner with on an upcoming project. If you’ve collaborated with other writers, we’d love to hear about it—leave a comment under this post on our Facebook page and tell us what worked, what didn’t and whether you’d do it again.