Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fifty Shades of Snow White

by Alan
Have you ever thought about collaborating with another author? If so, who would you pick, if you could pick anyone?
From time to time, I’ve thought about writing with a partner. Usually it’s when my forward progress has been completely stopped and I’d welcome another writer swooping in, picking up the ball, and running with it. Then, when he (or she) has broken free from the scrum, I can reenter the picture, take the handoff, and push the project over the goal line (I think a writing partner might also be useful for weeding out overlong sports metaphors).
But seriously, I’d love to write with a partner.
Mary_Tyler_Moore_Dick_Van_Dyke_1964When I watched the old Dick Van Dyke show, I would always love the scenes in Rob’s office where he and Buddy and Sally would write their TV show. They seemed to be having so much fun, joking around and riffing off each other. Taking someone else’s idea and embellishing it. If that’s what writing with a collaborator is like, sign me up!
I do have one experience writing with a partner. I adapted one of my books into a screenplay and was fortunate to hook up with a professional screenwriter. We talked on the phone once a week, for about an hour, and discussed how to boil 330 pages of novel into 105 pages of screenplay. I learned a ton about screenwriting and story-building in general, and I think we came up with a pretty good adaptation—actually, a REALLY good adaption. (So if anyone has a few million bucks and wants to make a movie, give me a call!)
I know for a fact that our collaboration produced a better screenplay than either of us could have done alone.
Of course, picking a compatible partner is the tough part. He/she would have to operate on pretty much the same wavelength as me. Would have to have the same level of commitment. The same work ethic. The same sense of humor. The same vision. (Possibly even the same contempt for cheese—wouldn’t want those working lunches to get nasty.)meandthecat
So who does that leave?
Unfortunately, Dr. Seuss isn’t around anymore.
Here’s my question to you, blog readers: Are you a) more likely to read a book written by co-authors, b) less likely, or c) doesn’t make a whit of difference—I wouldn’t care if the seven dwarves co-wrote a book as long as it was good (“Fifty Shades of Snow White”?).


Paul D. Marks said...

As with most things, writing with a partner has both pluses and minuses. And it becomes like a marriage -- it is a marriage -- and the script (or novel) is the baby. I had writing partners at times when I was doing screenplays. And one of those relationships went really sour for a variety of reasons. I mean to the point of lawyers (like in a divorce) and a very lengthy legal agreement and breakup, settlements (dividing properties), and more. It truly was like a divorce. For a while we could barely speak to each other. Now we're on polite speaking terms and try to be civil, but it's not the same. And this is someone I was very good friends with for decades. My other writing partners and I just drifted apart sooner or later without the acrimony. So, my take is go it alone if you can, though not all relationships end up that way.

But movies are a collaborative medium. To me, novels are (mostly) a solo art and for myself I like to have the vision of what I want it to be. That said, I wouldn't have a problem reading a novel by a team. And have.

RJ Harlick said...

I could see a screen play benefiting from the interactiveness of collaborative writing. It could even be fun. Who knows, maybe some day I will see your efforts up on the big screen. To answer your question, my only criteria for a book is it be good. I don't care if grandmother and the whole family were needed to bring it to fruition.

Catriona McPherson said...

Ha. I think I'm less likely - but I didn't know that until you asked. I have a suspicion there won't be any voice. But Sparkle Abbey and PJ Tracey have voice . . . Hmmmmm.

Alan Orloff said...

Paul - Sorry your co-writing project ended poorly. I hope no alimony was involved.

RJ - Working on the screenplay with my partner was pretty fun, I'll say that.

Catriona - Maybe twice as much voice? Maybe twice as much voice?

Paul D. Marks said...

No alimony, Alan, but we did have to cut the babies in half and we're tethered to each other for life or longer. I'm just hoping there's no issues down the road 'cause there is potential for that...