One definition of collaborative writing could be: a writing project undertaken by two or more writers, working together to produce a diverse but concerted assignment. Other definitions, doubtless, could be proffered.
Collaborative writing may be something you have never given much thought to. So who would use it? The most common form of collaboration would most likely apply to members of a school or college class working together. This would typically be administered by the class teacher and could involve individual students or small teams, each contributing a line or paragraph to a common story or narrative.
Cloud computing and various web sharing applications have made it possible for teams of writers, distributed globally, to work together on specific projects. With free file sharing apps, such as Google Documents, team collaboration is made possible to everyone.
This brings a degree of partnership previously only available to multinational organisations with huge I.T. budgets.
So what are the advantages of collaborative writing? Collaboration may be about teamwork; it also calls for strong leadership. Roles and responsibilities need to be made clear at the outset. Someone must be able to adjudicate when conflicting ideas come to the fore.
The common goal must be agreed; the group must pull together as one. Every member should be encouraged to contribute; likewise, each must be accountable to the team. This is no place for democracy. A show of hands deciding every contentious point could be a recipe for disaster. The maxim that a camel is a horse designed by committee holds fast.
The collaborative team will also need to ensure that members’ individual skills are not blunted in an effort to strictly comply with the group’s objectives. Individuals need to be allowed to express themselves or the resulting work will be flat and uninspiring. A delicate balancing act is necessary in order to achieve the required result.
So is there a future in collaborative writing? We, at Double Head Publishing, would like to believe so. We have designed a workshop that we hope will pull together the cream of developing talent among today’s aspiring authors. We offer the chance for teams of collaborators to collectively write and publish their work; there will also be the opportunity to earn some valuable revenue in our unique profit sharing incentive plan.
We recognise the power of collaboration. Collaborative writing combines the individual writer’s talent and the group dynamic to produce work that will be greater than the sum of its parts. Our desire is to become the recognised academy for helping up-and-coming writers to achieve their ambitions. We believe that collaborative writing has a clear place in the fields of creative writing and narrative. What do you think?