Working with a Writing Partner/Team

Posted by December 7th, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (December 1, 2011)

Bestselling husband-and-wife team Ilona Andrews and editor Anne Sowards discuss the challenges of writing with a partner


 Collaborating can be an amazing experience: you can take a project in directions you never conceived of before, you can get multiple perspectives to make a piece more relatable and realistic, you can divvy up tasks to focus your strengths, and so much more. But it can also be very difficult to work so closely with someone else in such a creative, traditionally solitary process. You won’t always see things the same way or have the same ideas of where a story should go. You might even have vastly different opinions on character motivation, for example. There are many areas where conflict could arise.

With this in mind, we decided to bring in one of the most successful writing duos today–Ilona Andrews (@Ilona_Andrews)–and Ilona’s editor–Anne Sowards (@AnneSowards)–to talk about their experiences.

Ilona Andrews is a husband and wife writing team–Ilona and Gordon. Together, they have written two New York Times bestselling urban fantasy novels, as well as a number of eBook originals.

Anne Sowards is the executive editor of the Ace/Roc imprint at Penguin Group, and works with bestselling authors like Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine,and many more, in addition to Ilona Andrews.

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the chat’s great discussion:

@Ilona_Andrews: The idea is not to compete but rather to create the best book possible.

@AnneSowards: Both author names are listed on the contract, i.e. “author x & author y, writing as author z.”

@Ilona_Andrews: We disagree frequently on characterization, but if it’s in the final book, it is a compromise.

@AnneSowards: I would be a bit more cautious (if approached by an agent with a writing pair) because it’s a more unusual situation, but love for the book overcomes fear!

@Ilona_Andrews: I don’t think the gnre matters that much. 🙂 It’s more what each of the partners brings to the table.

@AnneSowards: [It’s a] marketing decision [to use a pen name instead of both author names]. Less confusing for readers to have one name, and [for] UF, we wanted it to be female.

@Ilona_Andrews: Writing with a partner is very similar to working with the editor.

If you missed the chat, you can view or download the entire transcript as a PDF here. It will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start reading on the last page and work your way to the first page.

Thanks to all who took the time to share their experiences and ask questions.

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

Follow us on Twitter for more: @Book_Country 

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