Saturday, October 1, 2011

Things to Love and Hate About Collaboration

Karian Fabian

Returning guest blogger Karina Fabian writes fantasy and science fiction, with the occasional foray into the world of horror. Her first novel, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem, the 2010 INDIE Award for best fantasy. Her latest book, the comedic horror, Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, was a top ten in the Preditor and Editor reader’s polls and winner of the Global E-Book Award for best horror.

Colleen Drippe
Colleen Drippe (her co-author on “Frightliner”) has been writing since age six and has had a lot of science fiction, a moderate amount of horror and fantasy, and assorted nonfiction scattered throughout the small press and online. She also writes for children and has had three children's books published so far (The Little Blue House, Christmas at the Little Blue House, and Mystery at Miners’ Creek) and another one (Growing with the Little Blue House) due out any day. She has had one sf book published (Godcountry) and another (Gelen!) coming out this year. She is the former editor of Hereditas (of happy memory but dried up funding) and is currently working on another sf book along with various other projects.

Things to Love and Hate About Collaboration
by Karina Fabian

Frightliner: and Other
Tales of the Undead
Colleen Drippe and I collaborated on “Frightliner,” the novella in Frightliner: and Other Tales of the Undead. We enjoyed it so much, we are now collaborating on a fantasy. I thought I’d share what I love about collaborating and what I don’t like as much.

Five Things to Love:

1. Twice the idea power. Colleen added characters to the story that I would never have thought of, and it made the entire story richer.

2. You’ll find the story going in directions you would not have imagined. When Colleen sent me the first scene, in which Reba gets attacked, I realized she had a tone totally different from mine. I got to stretch as a writer to match that in my scenes.

3. You have someone to hold you accountable, so you produce. Let’s face it: when you don’t have a contract, it’s easy to put off writing, but knowing someone is waiting eagerly to see what you’ve written can make all the difference.

4. You can catch each other’s mistakes. Two sets of eyes. ’Nuff said.

5. It’s fun to share ideas with someone else.

Five Things that Challenge:

1. You have to negotiate on everything. After all, it’s not just your story. We actually didn’t have much of that in “Frightliner,” but this new story has already led to each of us rewriting scenes the other did.

2. You need to be patient waiting for your partner to come back with his or her part of the story. Life can now get in the way of writing twice as much.

3. You may have to backtrack, rewrite scenes, re-imagine characters in order to make the story flow. This really is a natural part of any editing process, but it’s even more important if you want to have a smoothly reading story.

4. You MUST put ego aside.

5. Splitting royalties is a pain if the publisher won’t do it for you. It’s a nit, but it’s a consideration, especially if neither of you is particularly financially-minded. (I don’t know if Colleen is, frankly, but since I was the one taking the lead in finding a publisher, I made it a condition in the contract.)

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