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Q&A

How to share the work, if writing fiction in a team?

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How should one split up the work between two people? Should one write the even-numbered chapters and the other the odd-numbered? Does each person tell the story from the point of view of a different character or write different story-subarcs? In general, how do one organise the work in a team?

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/q/143. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Another option that doesn't seem to have been mentioned, which might work if you are writing multiple-POV-character fiction, is to switch viewpoint characters between chapters and let each writer "own" one or more of the viewpoint characters. As long as you have a reasonably firm outline, this allows each author to work relatively freely, and in such a case the differences in style may actually add to the flavor of the overall story.

This works best if the characters don't partake in each others' activities too much, but with a shared reasonably solid understanding of the characters among all authors and some editing it may very well work well enough even if the characters intermingle.

Viewpoint character switches can get confusing if done wrong, but of the books I've read, I believe the ones that switch viewpoint character at chapter boundaries have all worked well. Of course you may need a solid round of editing at the end to bring everything together and make sure the story is consistent, but that is probably a good idea anyway so all things considered is probably not a huge drawback.

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I've written a few short stories with friends via email, with each person chipping in a section. It yields some interesting and fun results, but not what you'd call a particularly coherent story.

For an example of how one pair of pros did it, take a look at this interview with Sean Williams and Shane Dix. Basically, they worked on a story outline together, Sean did the first draft, Shane rewrote/edited, and Sean did one last pass.

Getting together for the outlining or vision at the start seems like a really important step. I could see something like odd/even chapters by different writers ending up with a conflict in styles...which might work really well in some cases.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/146. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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