A Collaborative Novel Is Twice the Work, Not Half the Work

Beth Ann Fennelly

Beth Ann Fennelly / photo by Jon Cancelino

In an essay about writing a novel with her husband, Beth Ann Fennelly discusses that the process did not lead to fighting, but that it was fun, and not as lonely. However, it didn’t mean half the work. It meant twice the work. She writes:

That’s when the novel really started cooking—and finally became fun to write—when we adopted the method we termed the “dueling laptops,” writing side by side on the same passages at the same time, then reading aloud and discussing and jointly moving forward. This is clearly not the most expedient route … but it was a wild new kind of work, a work which takes the other’s half, and raises it by half.

Read the entire essay over at this month’s Glimmer Train bulletin.

Also in this month’s bulletin:

Posted in Creativity + Inspiration and tagged , , .
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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4 Comments on "A Collaborative Novel Is Twice the Work, Not Half the Work"

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Michael M Dickson

What an essay. I don’t think I could collaborate like that at all. Kudos!

Lexa Cain

Beth Ann’s article was great! (It’s very odd they have agents who are married, isn’t it?) I’ve been dying to get one of my CPs to collaborate on a novel to save myself some work, but Ann’s article sure made me rethink that strategy. It’s like getting married. You think you’re getting someone to help you in your life, but you end up with no help on your problems and all their problems on top of it. *sigh*

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[…] Beth Ann Fennelly / photo by Jon Cancelino In an essay about writing a novel with her husband, Beth Ann Fennelly discusses that the process did not lead to fighting, but that it was fun, and not as lonely. However, it didn’t mean half the work.  […]

Robyn LaRue

My CP and I will be doing a collaboration this year. Loved reading Beth Ann’s essay and passed it on to my CP. Thanks. ::)