Musings on Effective Collaboration

I’m rereading Telling Lies for Fun and Profit.  In the book, Block indicates something of a disdain for teaming up to write a book, though he does say its works for some people.  For my new WiP, The Slender Man Massacre, I’m working with my seventeen-year-old niece.  So far, the collaboration is going well, leading me to write these thoughts on why I think the partnership is working.  Of course, we’re early in the process.  In a couple of months, you may see the post “Why Collaboration Sucks.”

  1. We each bring something to the table – I know writing and how to craft a book.  She lends an air of authenticity when getting inside the head of the modern teenage that I wouldn’t be able to match otherwise.  She also has an expertise in the genre honed by watching every horror film produced in the last twenty years.
  2. We respect each other’s knowledge – If it’s a writing issue, she yields to my judgment.  If it’s a question of dialogue and how teenagers interact, I yield to hers.  I’ve been impressed with her instincts in where to take scenes, and, as an added bonus, she seems particularly adept at creating good beats, which is an area where I sometimes struggle.
  3. We feed off each other’s energy – I spent hours over the last few days trying to get into a scene without any luck.  With the two of us working together, I knocked it out and outlined the next one in less than an hour, and the end result is much better than either of us would have produced individually.  Sometimes it just helps to talk things over with someone who is as enthusiastic about the project as you are.

What about you?  Have you tried collaborating?


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