Friday, September 13, 2013

Writing together with someone else/Brainstorming

As you all were talking about your writing styles last week, I thought about my own. I don't usually write on my own outside of school work, except for movie reviews and short screenplays. The screenplays are actually usually written together with my like-minded boyfriend. When we come up with an idea, we flesh it out just by talking back and forth. We add on characters, their characteristics and histories, settings, plot points, and even camera angles as we go along, just talking it out for maybe an hour or so. After we have a solid backbone of a story to work with, that's when it's finally written down on paper, usually by whoever came up with the idea in the first place. (Whether or not these stories ever make it to film is another story.)

When it comes to thinking of ideas, we play this game where one person gives the other either a genre or a character to work around, or sometimes a combination of opposite genres, like a western-type that takes place in the 1980s. We used to both work at a movie theater, and this game was great for passing time on slow weekdays.

So given that, I was wondering if any of you had worked together with someone else to write something, or if you had any other tricks for brainstorming ideas.


  1. I have never worked with someone else in creative writing. I do have friends read over my academic essays and give me feedback, but I hardly think that counts. I don’t think I have any friends that write for pleasure. Most of my friends write for class and that's about it so I don’t feel like they would enjoy doing something like what you and your boyfriend do. A long time ago I wrote a short story about a teenage girl and had my best friend read it. She said she liked it and when I told her I was going to throw it away, she got really upset. I think we were both thirteen years old so it has been a while since a friend has read what I've written creatively.

    What you and your boyfriend do sounds fun. It reminds me of the movie “Out of Africa”, where Maryl Streep’s character has the ability to create an entire story based on a single sentence given to her. You must have a really good imagination to do that on the spot. It sounds like a lot of fun though, so I might just try it one day with a friend.

    There are a lot of benefits to writing with someone else though. I think it would help you be aware of your strengths and weaknesses in writing which in turn would make you a better reader and writer. I can’t think of any famous novels that have multiple authors. I know that all novels are edited and there are different ideas from family members and friends, but is there any novel anyone can think of where there are two or more authors? Maybe like Steve Brewer said, authors are very proud of their work so it would be hard for someone, like J.K Rowling, to work with another author in the same novel.

  2. I have co-written a few stories in my life, and through experience I found that the best way to approach it is to have each person from one perspective and then let the story work through by itself. On occasion we may discuss the setting of our story and maybe where we would want the story to go. But the majority of the time we stick to the main leads and let the story flesh itself out.

    Sometimes the person you are working with can make a decision that you may not entirely like or agree with but that is a part of the beauty of co-writing because you have to work with what you are given. I feel that more so than writing a story by oneself co-writing is more of an adventure. Sometimes even when I am writing by myself I find that my characters have minds of their own pushing the story forward and surprising me, but while authoring a story with another individual the surprises jump back and fourth between views.

  3. I love working collaboratively with people, so there have been many stories co-inspired with friends. We usually sit and have tea/coffee and hash out the plot, which character(s) we'll take over, and go from there. I've noticed, though, that worldbuilding collaboratively can be difficult, even with like-minded people. I prefer to have a world already set up for us to work in, so no one has to disagree about the type of magic people use, or which war we'll emulate in space.

    I like to talk about my plots with other people, even if I'm working alone. For me (and I suspect for other writers), it's the biggest problem to solve. If I talk about my ideas with others, they're often very good at pointing out problems, or giving me a different perspective to consider.

    Some of my favorite novels are written by collaborative authors, though--the Pendergast series by Preston & Child, for example, or the Expanse series by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Does anybody else like collaborative works?


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