Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Well I’ve done it. I co-authored a book! It had some really great highs and some frustrating lows, but it was a great collaboration and pushed me in areas I never traveled before. After cleaning up our storage area in my basement, I ran across a short story my husband wrote for his English class back in college. Although the story was told from an adult prospective, I salivated at creating a teen character under the same premise as his short story.

I asked him if I could write a story using the basis and plot of his short story. He was elated that I wanted to. He wanted me to totally control the writing of it, but gave me key elements of the world building, characters and background of the story he wrote.

I came up with my draft outline of three books that would complete the series and the world building, character details and plot progression.

We chopped it up together and then I started to write. It took me 4 months to write this one – mostly because it took awhile for the story to flush out in my mind since the core plot wasn’t originally mine. However, *wink* once I owned it, I made major changes and fine tuned the plot to the point where he told me after he read the first draft, that I blew his mind with my changes :-D


It brings the best and the worst out of you. It allows you to explorer depths and ideas that you never considered before. You will have an in your face support system and motivator trying to achieve the same thing you are.


Make sure you like them.
You and your co-author should be able to easily communicate, not hold grudges and should like spending lots of time together. If you can’t do any of the above it may become a stressful partnership.

Come up with a Cohesive Idea.
Decide who does what, the main plot and how you will develop it and rules for engagement.

Outline that puppy together.
Building an outline with a clearly defined plot allows each co-author to stay on track. It is also a good way to flush out ideas.

Show me the Split.
Agree on how the split is made for the success of the project. Best case the split is 50/50 but early on is the time for making the decision on what is fair for specific effort.

No Big Heads allowed.
Be courteous and respectful with reviewing each others contribution.


Kelly Hashway said...

Co-authoring has to be tough. And with your husband? I'm not sure how you did it. ;) Of course my husband would never write so that could be why I'm so blown away by this.

LM Preston said...

Well your DH may never write but he may give you an idea. That's basically the main crust of any story :-D and yes, it was challenging but for the most part he would just tell me where there were holes or where the story didn't gel.

Catherine Stine said...

Wow, that could be really challenging. Though it might be an organic way to incite conflict!

Ellie Garratt said...

Wow. I have to give you kudos for a) co-authoring a book (so far, I've done one short story with a Canadian writer) and b) writing it with your husband!

Well done to the pair of you!

Glen Strathy said...

I'm sure not every marriage could survive artistic differences. But for those that can, these tips are great.

YelenaC said...

Very true that you have to make sure that you like your co-author because you have to work together for a long time and cohesively. It's also true that you learn a lot from each other.
I have co-authored a novel with my best friend, Tina Moss, and I loved doing it! We pushed each other, we learned from each other and we found yet another way to bond.
Having said that, you have to make sure that you leave your ego at the door and are receptive to the ideas and criticism from your co-author!

Heather Kelly said...

Thanks for the insight! I have done collaborations of different kinds, but never to this end. I think this speaks to your relationship with your hubby as well, that you guys could share this idea and bring it to life!