Mar 10, 2015 · 44 Comments
This post is about the nuts and bolts of how Natalie and I go about writing a book together. I'm sure everyone who writes a story together goes about it differently, but this is how we do it.
Both of our stories so far have been ideas Natalie came up with and she already knew the whole story for both books before we started. She had an outline worked out with everything that would happen, chapter by chapter.
It might be something like this for Grayson's first chapter: Introduce Grayson and his sister. Grayson goes down to dinner with his father. They argue.
I took Nat's guideline, created the other characters, and decided how it would all go. I knew what his family members would be like, and I introduced them so you would get to see what Grayson and his home life was like.
The great part about Natalie's chapter by chapter outline is that I can see what will happen in her chapter, then go ahead and write my chapter without even needing to see her completed chapter. So, if I was felt inspired one night, I could write two or three chapters ahead even if Nat's chapters weren't done, and she could do the same. The awesome part is how well that worked out. Even after just one draft of the story, it all made sense and flowed really well. When it came time to revise, we didn't need to change much at all.
One of the benefits of writing a dual-point-of-view story this way is that it made it easy to tell our characters apart. Natalie and I are similar, but (hopefully) you can tell that the characters are different people with very different personalities.
Of course, we didn't agree on everything. I don't think we disagreed on a single thing with WSOTR, but we have a few times with THE FAKE. It happens! But it's not a big deal. We both are happy to make room for each other and respect each other's opinions (as usual, Nat is a lot better at that than me--I have no idea why she puts up with me, seriously). Usually it was over a bit of plot, or something I loved and she didn't, etc.
So that is basically how it works. We wrote our parts and put them together in one big document at the end, and revised it all together. Sometimes I would see Grayson talking in a Claire chapter and change what he says so it sounds more like the way he talks when I write him, and Nat would do the same with Claire. Mostly, it was really easy!
The next book we're doing together is an idea and plot I came up with, and it's bound to be a lot less organized because of that, so we'll have to see how that turns out!
Do you think you could write a story with someone else? How do you think you would work it all out?
Let me know if you have any questions or ideas for future posts in the comments!