Collaborative Writing Projects

by Hank Quense

I’ve never collaborated with another writer on a project and I don’t have any idea about how it would work. My ignorance brings up several questions:

* How do writers revise each other’s work?
* Is there special software that makes it easy to collaborate?
* Is one writer in charge of the project?
* Can one writer reject the other writer’s revisions?

So many questions. If you’ve collaborated on a writing project, please write a blog post and comment on these questions and add your own observations.

One Reply to “Collaborative Writing Projects”

  1. Nancy Taiani

    Both MS Word and Apple’s Pages have the ability to track changes. So when working with someone else’s draft, you can turn on tracking and make all your changes. You can cross out, add, etc. your changes change color and have an indicator in the margin. The next writer can accept any or all of the changes—or not.  I actually prefer to insert my own changes—sometimes with parenthetical explanations—because sometimes I feel an entire sentence has to be rearranged or moved to another place in the piece and that’s harder to understand with tracking.

    Just as with Write Group suggestions for changes from members of the Memoir and Novel Writing groups, the original author can choose to make only those changes he or she wishes.

    Early on in the Write Groups history, a few of us, all women, collaborated on a work of fiction. I think it began as a romance; we decided together on the names and characteristics of the principle characters. Then each of us wrote our own chapters, which we read to each other as we moved the story forward. We never decided where we wanted the story to go, so we never finished it. Since we deliberately wrote tongue-in-cheek we really entertained each other whenever we got together to read our chapters.

    I have also tried to collaborate when no one author is in charge, with less success. I worked on a letter to be sent to supporters of an NGO. After I drafted what I thought was asked for, someone else came up with an entirely different approach. I thought there was room to fit some of each idea, but someone decided to use the other letter in its entirety with no chance for my comments, nor with an explanation for the choice, leaving my nose a little out of joint.


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