Collaboration Station

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 in General Insanity | 0 comments

A few months ago, I mentioned I was starting a project with four other writers to build a collaborative world in which we would each set one novel. I wanted to relate some of my experiences for people interested in collaborative storytelling because I’m pretty excited about what we’ve accomplished so far.

I went into the project with quite a few doubts, but I figured even if the group fell apart I’d still have some valuable experience and probably some ideas I could recycle into another story. Since we began corresponding, I’ve had nothing but good feelings.

At first the process was slow. We spent a couple of weeks submitting ideas and voting on the basics. What kind of world did we want to build? What kind of magic systems should we invent? Were there any special races or technology we wanted to incorporate? Even when I didn’t get my first choice, we usually ended up with my second choice or third choice option, so I was pretty happy. Actually, I found the entire process interesting. By the time we started voting on things later on, I could predict with pretty fair accuracy what choice we’d end up using.

Once we had a basic outline of our world we began working on our collaborative story bible. We tossed around ideas for different things that interested us, and there was a very natural splitting of the development of various aspects. There were some discussions were we didn’t all agree, of course, but there was never a time when we really butted heads and neither side would give way. While doing this all of us had ideas for our characters and stories that we shared with the group. It was the most exciting brainstorm experience I’ve ever been part of.

I really can’t say enough positive things about the authors I’m collaborating with on this project. They are a bottomless fount of wonderful ideas. I got so many ideas I even outlined the first half of my book! I know, that I outlined something is shocking to me too. I’ve had a great experience so far, that has exceeded my expectations in every way. I would suggest that if any writers out there get the opportunity to take part in a collaborative project, give it a shot.

What can I tell you about the project?

I can tell you that this collection of books will be called The Drifting Isle Chronicles and that my own contribution will be titled Songbird’s Lament. My book features an opera singer, talking birds, and a cult of assassins. Our world features a floating island (obviously), several types of completely new magic, and lots of intrigue.

I can share my wonderful collaborators: Charlotte E. English, Joseph Robert Lewis, MeiLin Miranda, and Katherine Tomlinson. If you’re interested in collaborative fictional worlds, check out Shared Story Worlds for great articles, including interviews and updates about our project along with other information on quite a few other projects.

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