Tag Team Writing

I’m starting off this post with a piece of blatant self-promotion. My first male/male romance coming is out through Lyrical Press in late February. I recently received the cover and I’m so excited. Here it is. What do you think?

Moving on to other topics.

Many writers have critique partners. We often try out many potential partners before finding the right fit. Sooner or later we find that person or people with complementary skill sets, who encourage you, but also let you know when you’ve gone in the wrong direction with a story. Still, at the end of the day the story you create is your own.

Have you ever tried writing with a partner? Tried blending your styles and voices so that the final product is a seamless conglomerate of the two. I always wondered how writing teams did it? Do the partners trade off scenes? Does one partner write from the hero’s point of the view the other the heroines? I know a lot of trust and compromise must go into it. I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the process. Until now.

I’ve recently started writing a story together with a good friend. So far everything is going well, and it’s been a really positive and interesting experience. We’re writing tag team, we alternate scenes as we go. Before we started writing we sat down and hammered out a general plot outline, naturally as the story takes shape the plot gets enhanced and changed. Fortunately neither of us is so married to a plot idea or the words on the page that we pitch a fit when they are changed. Stylistically we are different writers, but it’s been cool to reread a scene I’ve written after she’s taken a pass at it. I’m a layered writer. My first drafts are very skeletal, so I enjoy seeing what meat she’s added. All in all I’m having a great time and I think we’re creating something really strong.

If you’re going to try writing as a team you’ll want to make the sharing of the document as easy as possible.  I’d consider using Google Documents. It’s Google’s free online word processing program. It’s not complicated, but it gives you the tools you need to get your draft work done before moving the final to a word document. I’ve been using it to write some of my other books because the documents stay online. I sometimes work on computers that don’t have Word loaded on them so this was the solution to my problem. All I have to do is log into my Google account online and I’m up and writing in no time. The other handy thing about his program is it allows you to grant permissions. In other words, I don’t have to give my writing partner, access to my account in order for her to access our story document. It’s still a private document, only she and I can log into it. The fun part is we can sign in simultaneously and both work on the document at the same time. It’s all done in real time so as your partner types the words magically appear on the screen. It’s awesome to see. Plus there is an in document chat function so that you can brainstorm as you go. It makes tandem writing so much easier, in my opinion, then having to email documents back and forth. No program compatibility issues or worrying that you’re working in the correct version, etc.

So going back to my original question – Have you ever tried writing with a partner? What method did you use to write the story? Finally, to appease my inner computer geek, what program did you use to write? Did you email word docs or is there another cool program out there that I need to know about?

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4 responses to “Tag Team Writing

  1. Congratulations, Rayna, great cover!

    It would be hard for me to write with someone else–I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer! My characters take over writing the story after a chapter, or two, and no one else could dare follow their warped minds. They’ve gotten me in trouble more than once with their shenanagins! But then they come to the rescue, and bail me out *grins*

    Good luck on your story.

  2. I’m with J. Hali. I love the cover and I also write on the fly. I can’t imagine writing with a partner, but it is an intriguing thought. I have a friend who is writing in a different romance genre. This might be a fun exercise to try in a short story form. I have never used Google documents. It sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip and good luck with the book…

  3. Thanks Linda and J. Hali! I’m thrilled about the cover and the upcoming release.

    I never could have imagined writing with a partner either. Now that I’m doing it, It’s a lot easier then I imagined it would be. It’s probably because we are such good friends and have traded WIP often so we’re familiar with how the other works.

    Linda,

    If you decide to give team writing a try be sure to let me know how it goes.

    Rayna

  4. I am the other half of P.K. Eden and co-author of FIREBRAND. It’s all about the relationship in your ability come to a common goal with your partner. Kathye Quick and I enjoy our writing camaraderie, because we both have different strengths and when we write neither has to worry much about the other one’s force.
    We bounce ideas off each other not only in our combined project but our individual ones as well.
    sometimes we will have an idea that may not happen until well into the novel and nowhere near the place we are currently working on, but we place it in the GOING TO USE folder and use it when needed.
    I once had unique task with four other writers who had to keep a single story going for eight months. We each had to read what the author before us had written and then carry on the story. It was I must say a delightful and intriguing experience.

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