Collaborative storytelling!

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  1. #1
    BABY MURKROW ♡ Crystalanachrony's Avatar
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    Default Collaborative storytelling!

    I'm now beginning to work on a joint fanfiction with one of my best friends -- actually, it's the primary reason I chose to join Bulbagarden, because the fanfiction section here is much more helpful and active than the one on my home forum (PokéCommunity). I'm quite fond of the place already. So I thought I would ask you all a few questions.

    Have you ever, or do you wish you could, work on a fanfic/original fiction project with someone else? How did you divide up the work? Is there something you wish you had done better?

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Collaborative storytelling!

    I did a few years ago--it was called "The Things We Do For Love". It started as a very long (and funny) conversation between me and one of my friends at the time about things we wished Brock would do to impress a girl. As we talked, the conversation evolved into its own plotline, and when we both saw the plot, we knew we had to write it down.

    We kept talking as we wrote it out, making sure we both agreed before we added something or cut something. We had a blast writing it, and to this day, it is one of my favorite old fics to read
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    Registered User Hex Maniac's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collaborative storytelling!

    Not fanfiction, but I've written with friends. We'd usually distribute the main characters between us and spend some time working on developing them. Then we'd get together and discuss what we'd done to make sure the characters meshed well together, and make any necessary changes. We'd also spend a lot of time plotting and bouncing ideas back and forth. Finally, we'd write it. How we did it depended, it was a bit like taking turns to write out what our characters were doing but with a lot of interruptions to say that character X should get a line in there before Y replied anything and things like that. Then we'd go over what we wrote and edit it to make it more coherent. Rinse and repeat.

    It was a lot of fun but also very time-consuming. I recommend doing this only with a friend whose writing style and ideas work well with yours, who has a compatible schedule, and with whom you can negotiate things. Sometimes one person just likes an idea and the other person doesn't, and you have to negotiate what to do. I feel like my experience was great mostly because of all these things.

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    BABY MURKROW ♡ Crystalanachrony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collaborative storytelling!

    Quote Originally Posted by SemioticSam View Post
    I recommend doing this only with a friend whose writing style and ideas work well with yours, who has a compatible schedule, and with whom you can negotiate things. Sometimes one person just likes an idea and the other person doesn't, and you have to negotiate what to do.
    Interesting! Actually, this reminded me of another more advice-based question I have. The format of this story is going to be... weird.

    See, my friend and I decided early on that there was pretty much no way our writing styles would mesh; she is very descriptive and serious, while I am very conversational, value comedic timing, and tend to make fun of my characters. For that reason, we decided to have two 'sides' of the same story, each one being one fic, that would connect at pre-planned points along the storyline. That way, we could each use our writing styles freely while still linking up to the other side. For example, I would write "Side A" and she would write "Side B", each one being its own story with its own internal continuity.

    Now, obviously this would be a lot for readers to follow, so we decided that we would kind of serialize our fics; I would post a chapter one week, then she would post a chapter on the same day next week, and so on. We still haven't decided whether each side should have its own thread, or if both sides should be posted in the same thread but by different users. I also figured that we should set a page limit on how long the chapters need to be so as not to overwhelm readers, but I don't know how long that page limit will have to be. Does that sound like the sort of project that people would be able to follow?

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    Good Bad Bug Glitchipedia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collaborative storytelling!

    When I do "collaborative storytelling", it's usually in the form of a character-centric roleplaying game. Unfortunately, it feels like I'm the only one who really cares about it a lot of the time....

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    I'm fabulous! AC-Prescott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collaborative storytelling!

    My experience with collaborative writing is that it most often can't be done easily. It's taken three years for me and Caitlin to bring Storm Island up to 7 chapters, where most of that time has been spent bickering about personal problems between us, between me and my friends and between her and her friends. On the other hand, a lot of time has been spent on editing, refinement, going back to the drawing board when we both had different ideas, etc. I mean, it's certainly fun to work on something with someone, and two heads are usually better than one for idea refinement, but the human element will always show its ugly face every now and then.

    Don't get me wrong, collaborative writing works, you see it all the time when it comes to best sellers. What I've figured is that the people who can do it are naturally born to work with each other. If your partner shares that quality, you can probably make something good out of it.

    That said, I don't think I'd ever try to make another attempt at collaborative writing.

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