How to Write With Someone Else

Books Twelve years ago, I met Emily.

If you have no idea who she is, I'm sorry. Emily is one of the most important people in my life. We met on Neopets and started a roleplay, which basically involves alternating writing different pieces of a story. I'd write one character; she'd write another. The story has never ended, but it has changed and evolved. The same could be said for our friendship.

While writing with Emily, I learned that writing with someone has many ups and downs. It can be simultaneously nerve-wracking as well as satisfying. Since mine and Emily's collaboration has lasted so long, I thought it might be a good idea to share our secrets for success with you. If you want to write something with someone, here's how you can avoid wanting to kill them.

  • Lower your expectations. If you've read their writing, you know what to expect, but if you haven't, you should approach the collaboration with an open mind. Sometimes even the best writers get nervous working with someone new. I was lucky to get Emily, but sometimes, you may feel as though you got the raw end of the deal. Relax and focus on having fun. You don't need to write the Great American Novel.
  • Be willing to compromise. You might write a post expecting one reply and getting another. Roll with the punches. When working with someone else, flexibility is key. Also, remember that all relationships require compromise.
  • Communicate with them. If you thoroughly enjoyed their last post, tell them! If it's something they worked hard writing, they'll be thankful for the praise. Likewise, if they're doing something that bothers you, let them know right away. Bottling your frustrations is likely to make you explode and take out your partner in the process.
  • Set ground rules. Before you get started, exchange limits from you. If you're not a fan of swearing, sex, or violent behavior, be honest up front. Once they tell you what they won't write, respect their limits, too. If you get the feeling that someone won't respect you, forget about writing with them. It's best to move on.
  • Be patient. Life happens. You might not get a reply every day. Don't freak out about it. As the two of you spend more time together, your partner might feel more inclined to reply regularly - or maybe not. Give them space if they need it and they'll do the same for you.

I could go on and on about what writing with someone else has taught me. There are so many benefits to working with another person - I think it's something every writer should try. The sooner you get started, the sooner you'll be having fun.

Who knows? You might even still be friends after twelve years.

What are your tips for writing with someone? Have you collaborated with another writer before?

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What do you think about collaborating with other writers? @brianawrites gives some tips for writing with someone. (Click to tweet)