Can you Co-Write a Book?

I’ve had this on my list of potential topics for some time now. And I’m wondering what some of you think about it. Co-writing. Hm. I have to admit that I’ve never co-written anything before. Maybe that’s just me being stubborn, but I’m just not comfortable having someone write what I should be writing. I’m not talking  only books here. I mean, remember in high school or even a lower level English college class in which the teacher/professor would have you pair up with one or two other students so that everyone could have a different set of eyes take a look at their paper? I do. And this is how it would go. I’d mark up all over the paper (if that was allowed) and give it back to them with some feedback. Then I’d get mine back and ignore everything they said, if they said anything at all. Why did I do this? Because I knew my writing was so much better than theirs and that anything they “corrected” was likely something they corrected because they didn’t want to give me back a paper with no corrections.

You’re now thinking how stupid I am for thinking that blah blah blah. The truth is that I still believe my writing is significantly better than all those people who aren’t writers and who will never write anything outside of an academic setting. But my fiction is just okay. And I can name off a number of bloggers who are much better writers than I am. My reasoning for telling you all this is because imagine that guy I just described to you trying to co-write a book. It wouldn’t happen. But now, who knows?

I know authors co-write books all the time, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head who does it regularly and successfully is James Patterson. He gets a lot of flack for how he does things, but I’m not going to criticize a guy who brings in more money than any other author in the world. Nope. Not happening. For those of you who think he doesn’t work on the books that are co-written with other authors, I have to say that I think you’re wrong. I read an article some time ago in which he described the entire process in a recorded interview. He said he typically writes the first draft of the story and then hands it off to the other author to write a subsequent draft. Then they work together to polish the second draft. Patterson doesn’t just throw his name on the cover of a book written by someone else. Come on.

But when it comes to me, I’m a little on the fence. I mean, my ideas and intentions and everything going on in my head is going on in MY head. And some things aren’t always easy to communicate. There are so many things to think about when it comes to writing a book and adding another person just adds more things to consider. BUT I think there are a number of writers I know today who I could easily work with on a book. We write differently and in different genres and our ideas are not the same, but I think a great writer and an okay writer (me) could come together to write a pretty good book.

What about you? Do you think you could co-write a book?

7 thoughts on “Can you Co-Write a Book?

  1. it depends on the book. Coming from someone here who really doesn’t like James Patterson, I always got the feeling that he did less writing and more editorial final review. I actually am contemplating asking someone to co-write a book with me now, but that would be more non-fiction and based on my thesis work from grad school, and the person I would ask also did her thesis on a similar matter. I know husband and wife writers who are currently collaborating on a trilogy now. I think it comes down to how much you are on the same page with the other person, both in thought and in writing.

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  2. I started to co-write a book with someone and it was like a tug of war, we appreciated where each was going with the story but honestly….it didn’t work. Saying that, if someone feels they can co-write with someone – go for it….in terms of film and television scripts, stories are co-written all the time so it isn’t something new. In fact i would say that more stories in this world are co-written than singularly written.

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  3. The only book I could possibly co-write is a non fiction book, based on something factual. Any other book, especially a fiction book would be challenging for me, because unless the person I am co-writing with has the same or similar mind as me, I do not think the result would be authentic to me.

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