Nuts and Bolts of Fiction Writing 3

Collaborative Writing - It's not for everyone
By Pam Blance (aka Jamie Tremain)

Writing generally is a solitary occupation. You are in control of your thoughts and meanings. You are responsible for your mistakes but also for the brilliant prose you type onto your computer. The only voice you hear is your own until a publisher or editor has their hands on your masterpiece.

Not so in a collaboration. When writing with a partner there are a few dos and don'ts.

  • If you Do decide to write with someone make sure it is a person you respect and like.
  •  Do set a schedule to meet up and have face to face brainstorming sessions. Being on the same page is important.
  • A fresh pair of eyes can spot mistakes. The brilliant word or sentence you are sure will win you an award will be weeded out by your partner. Do listen to them and don’t get upset. You will be doing the same to them in the next paragraph.  
  • Do follow through with the work if your collaborator is waiting to start the next chapter.  
  • Do trust you partner enough to get on with the story when you are not available. Life gets in the way sometimes. 
  • Do have a shared vision of your finished product. 
  • Do speak up and voice what you don’t like. You can’t move forward if you are not in agreement.
  • Don’t lose your sense of humour.
  • Don’t let your ego get in the way.
  • Don’t be swayed by all the advice and how to you receive from other writers, this list included.
  • DO what works for you.
When you have established how you will work together, this is the time to have a legal contract. My writing partner and collaborator Liz Lindsay (we write as Jamie Tremain) have been writing for many years. Our first book is now published. The Silk Shroud was published in February 2017. After many revisions and back and forth we saw our hard work and our vision of being published authors come to fruition. This way of writing works for us. We work virtually on Google Drive and meet up once a month, as we live in different cities.

Other collaborators work differently. In our case, we never change anything unless the other agrees. Others make changes when they see a mistake and fix it. If you decide to write with a partner you will find your own flow and set your own rules.

I can’t imagine writing any other way. We have each other’s back and it works for us. Try it, you’ll like it!

Pam left the corporate world to revel in her first love, reading and writing. Growing up  surrounded by books and a writer father who influenced her love of the written word. After many years working and bringing up a family she is in a collaborative partnership with Liz Lindsay as Jamie Tremain. 


Fellow collaborators, share your partnership stories.