Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 22, 2010

Triple Vision

Now that we knew we needed to re-storyboard, how do you proceed with three authors?

 

Since it was my idea to re-storyboard, I got the assignment of writing the new storyboard for The Egyptian Enigma, our middle grade adventure novel. After I sent it over to my two co-authors, they looked it over and made notes. Then, we had a meeting to discuss everything. While email is a godsend, and imperative when working with others these days, we have found that we are much more efficient and creative when we are all in the same room.

 

My co-authors and I hammered out the details of the new storyboard, until we were all happy with it. Having three authors can be difficult at times, because speed is nearly impossible. When you are a solo author, decisions are quick – you make it and run with it. With three, everything needs discussion. And although that does not lend itself to speed, it has its advantages. Three people see three different angles. Together they see things a single author could not see. This gives the work a variety, depth, and nuance that might otherwise not exist. So having all of us discuss the storyboard was vital. They raised questions I never thought of, and working through them made the resulting storyboard stronger.

 

When you have three authors, the question of how to divide the work never ends. In our group, the pattern usually is that we decide on a course of action together, then I develop the first drafts of whatever we need, and then we polish them together. I don’t know why that is – perhaps because this was my story idea to start with, so I am the de facto primary. Whatever the reason, once we had a storyboard we all liked, I got to work revising.

 

It took a while, what with a 6-month-old in the house, a trip to Arizona, and shuttling between our house in Jersey and our temporary home in Virginia every couple of weeks. But I finished the revision, and was very happy with the results. We cut 10,000 words from the story, all from the first half of the book, and got to the rockin’ second half much faster. We also had agreed to shorten the chapters, and that resulted in a shift from 52 chapters to 96. It reads much faster and smoother.

 

We’re still not done, of course. The other authors need to read what I have done and add their expertise to it. And we have many other revisions to work through – character is up next. Stay tuned for further Tri-vision adventures!

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Responses

  1. Co-authoring
    I’ve always been a terrible co-author. Not that I’m such a great author in the first place, but I do have very definite ideas about how I want to express myself. It’s easier to write it myself than to persuade a co-author. If I had a blog about bad habits in writing (I don’t know as much about the good ones!) then I could start with true horror stories about co-authoring.

    Like


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