When is it Right to Co-author a Project?

By Alexa Padgett
This question has been on my mind for months. There are a couple of genres I’m interested in pursuing, but I have no current readers in those markets. Plus, everyone is doing it (writing with a partner) and seems to be putting out work faster and with better results—hey, two authors to market one book is synergistic.
But…the idea of writing with another person is daunting. I have my idiosyncrasies; habits in the way I build and craft characters and arcs—as do most other authors. All of which makes finding the right partner even more critical.
How do you do this? Not quite sure just yet. A friend co-wrote a novel with a new writer to help build his career. That was kind of her, and she’s happy with the result, but she felt like it took a lot of mentorship and effort—both emotional and temporal.
A friend of mine found her writing partner at a group she joined a year ago. It’s for science fiction authors—an area of interest she’d long wanted to pursue, though the closest she’s come thus far is a popular fantasy romance series. They met; they clicked; they have a killer story premise that each will write from one of the leading character’s point-of-view.
This second method seems a much better option for a balanced workload. But the key to any of this—just like in finding a trustworthy critique partner—is working with someone you trust and respect. And who trusts and respects you. That should be obvious. I hope it is. Just as I hope its tantamount in your mind when searching for a crit or writing partner. Similar voice, similar styles are nowhere near as important as respect for the story you’re creating and the other person’s capabilities.
My point is this: I’ve had some opportunities to work with other writers. To date, I’ve turned them down because they just weren’t right. Trusting that gut, knowing the importance of finding synergies and mutual satisfaction—that’s the key to this messy creative process. (And, I think, to remaining friends at the end of it.)

2 thoughts on “When is it Right to Co-author a Project?

  1. I think with the right person it would be a lot of fun and would work well as a motivational too. Plus you’d have an instant reader/sounding board. And you’d eliminate the whole lone person eating biscuits and hoola-hooping instead of writing scenario. I think I’d like to give it a go one day but as you said, it would have to be the different narrator type of co-authorship. Saying all of that, I did write Happy as Harry with a little co-author, Harry. We have a great writing-together relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sure I could do it without driving my co-author mad because my stories evolve over several drafts, but it does seem to a process that’s growing in popularity and is an established process in screenwriting.


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