Are you and an author friend considering working together on a novel? It's worked for thousands of writing pairs, but there are pitfalls throughout the process that make it a tough job for some people. Here are 8 tips for making the process work more smoothly.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
Not every word you write is pure gold. Having a partner can help you to see this, but it hurts sometimes. Make sure you're able to take criticism in the right way.
Listen to Each Other
The story belongs to both of you. Allow each other to spin ideas and go off on tangents. No matter how crazy, one idea can turn into a great plot twist if you give it a chance.
Edit Each Other
In the beginning, at least, write alternating chapters to an outline and edit each other's copy. This way you'll have a uniform editorial voice through the entire book.
Trust Each Other
This is a given. If you can't trust your co-author, hands-down, you might as well not go any further. This doesn't mean letting them make all the decisions, but it does mean believing them when they feel strongly about an issue.
Pick Your Battles
When arguing about plot points, figure out which ones are really important to you and which you can let go. No one gets to win all the time. Pick and choose what you value in the story and give in on the rest.
Fight For What You Want
This is the opposite side of picking your battles. When it comes down to a plot point or twist in the book that you're absolutely sure of, don't back down. Be prepared to make a logical case for what you believe, but don't be bullied just to keep the peace.
Use Your Strengths
Are you great at POV while your partner rocks at coming up with tiny character details? If you're working together you probably know each other's writing styles. Figure out who does what the best, and take advantage of that talent pool. Be accountable to each other for support. After all, that's one of the great things about co-writing: two kinds of talent combined into one book.
At the end of the day, if it's not fun it's not worth doing. Take a break if you need to, work on the book together only once a month, make it a project for retreats. Figure out how to make this entertainment instead of work.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!