Writing Collaborations

Collaborating with another person is a funny, sometimes touchy thing. It can be a minefield. It can be enjoyable and easy. It can be a great experience. It can be a chore. It can make you a better writer and it can make you wish you never agreed to the project in the first place. I’ve worked with many people over the years, most recently on A Year of Hitchcock and Pitched!, and every experience differs wildly from the last.

Writer Alan Moore said of collaborations:

Collaborations all have a different nature, they all work in different ways, because any two individuals are gonna have a different chemistry between them. You have to be sensitive to the person that you’re working with and they have to be sensitive to you, to a certain degree. And you try to work as one organism, as best as possible, and it is possible.

Ideally, yes. It probably takes a certain type of person to get here, though. I’ve worked with people I’d scramble to work with again, and those with whom it just never clicked. Even like-minded people can find that when it comes time to start working, the going is more difficult than expected.

Collaborations in comics are, of course, par for the course. Most comics work is done in collaboration with others. Collaborations in prose are rarer, though not entirely uncommon.

The process of collaborating on a work of fiction, especially prose, interests me. How to tackle it, how to go about it, and of course the interplay between two writers who both secretly want to be the star of the show. That, or there is the old “pass an idea to someone else to write” thing that Arthur C. Clarke now does. I wonder how co-authors go about their work. Not because I want to co-author a novel — I have too much on my plate right now to even consider tackling that! — but simply because I’m interested in the creative process.

If anyone can point me to some good interviews and/or features that delve into the subject, I’d be appreciative.