The Lady Soldier Online Party
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
More co-authored novels in the future?
The Lady Soldier was written by two novelists - Michelle Styles and I. We both write novels in our own right, and co-authoring is something more usual in non-fiction or for film and tv than for novels. However, we think we pulled it off, and I wonder, with the internet, which enabled us to e-mail the manuscript back and forth with ease, whether more novels might be co-written in the future.

I thought it might be fun to discuss co-authoring, and what the impact of the internet and new technologies might mean for co-authoring.

I'll post a later about some of the plus points and possible pitfalls of co-authoring.

Discussion points: Ever thought about co-writing, or have already tried it, with another writer? Have you read any other co-authored novels?
Kate, I can't imagine how you do it! I co-authored a Purple Prose Parody once, but that's all - waaay too much of a control freak!

I know some Harlequin authors are actually two people - like Tori Carrington, who I think is/are a married couple. Also Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes have co-authored books, although I haven't enjoyed them as much as Janet's individual books.
Yes, you do lose being in total control co-authoring!

However, there is a tangible speed in times of idea generation as you are able to bounce ideas off each other.

You are also able to capitalise on each other's strengths as writers. So if these complement each other it can work quite well.
In terms of practically how we did it, Michelle and I sent our manuscript (a Word document) back and forward over e-mail.

Heading into the near future here perhaps, and I was wondering if it would be possible to co-write using software similar to IM (instant messanger)? Has anyone tried this?
Well, our purple prose was written via Yahoo messenger, but really it was just a case of me coming out with ridiculous lines and her putting them in order. Maybe it could work for something longer though - the problem being that on YIM you can't post long paragraphs. I don't know about MSN or AIM, though.
The only thing I've ever co-authored was in the fanfic realm but we each did a chapter and had a synopsis of sorts of what was going to happen when and divided up the key scenes. Doing it over an im seems like a great idea though. Not sure which software you could use, msn has a character limit I think. Not sure about aim though.
I co-authored a non-fic book with my husband. I thought it might be a recipe for divorce, but it worked well, although we did argue about punctation. (g) I did historical research, he did contemp research - I drafted each chapter and he corrected/made suggestions. The book was a success.
Kate - Some years ago I got halfway through writing a novel with my best friend and then she pulled out! It was awful. I thought the book had real potential and I'd even booked an Arvon course to go away and work on my bits.

I went anyway, read bits out to the other students and they said try and finish it yourself, but I just couldn't - there were 2 first person narratives and I just couldn't do hers.

Never again! I don't think I'd ever trust anyone not to pull out on me. (We are still speaking by the way!)

I actually managed to re-cycle some bits of the novel into EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY, my first novel, out this week.

I'm not sure if you would call it co-authored but the Regency Invitation in M&B featured three authors who had combined three indivdual stories using shared characters. I thought the book was amazing and I could feel the fun they had in writing it. I wished I could co-write with someone because it sounded so much fun!
I've done a lot of role plays where you write one set of characters and someone else writes another set so that might work for co-authoring. I did start a regency murder mystery with someone once along the same lines as Kate and Michelle but somehow it didn;t work out. I think the other person lost interest.
Some years ago Bernard Cornwell wrote several novels with his wife under the pseudonuym Susanna Kells. I really enjoyed the first one which is very different from his other stuff (Sharpe etc) but the second is still on my TO Be Read pile and I believe the third isn't goig to be republished. Clearly husband and wife teams do work in at least some situations...
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