All of Us Villains Co-Authors Guest Essay on Co-Writing

Two red hands wearing rings, united under a tent on a black background

Collection of pouches for We all wicked
Image: TorTeen

Five years ago, the two of us, already YA authors, had an idea that would become We all wicked, our co-written debut about a tournament of magical death filled with celebrations and inversions of all our favorite YA tropes. After the release of All our death the second and final book in the duology, it’s exciting to reflect on what we’ve learned about co-writing and working together over the course of this series, and hopefully offering some insight and guidance to those who wish to try it themselves.

Obviously, writing a book with another person requires some logistical coordination. In terms of the software itself, we relied on Google Docs so that we could each write and edit the manuscript in real time, despite residing in different cities. We also chose to split the four viewpoints into two each; although we both wrote and edited the entire manuscript, regardless of who originally wrote which chapter, we each originally claimed two of the narrators. It also made it easier to distinguish between the four voices. Finally, we described a lot before writing the manuscript. Not all writers prefer to map out their stories in advance, but for us, the description was key to making sure we shared the same vision for the book from the get-go.

While ironing out the physical logistics of co-writing was essential, the more intangible emotional logistics of marrying our creative processes was even more essential. One of the most common questions we get about co-writing is basically, “How did you handle working so closely with another person?” The answer comes down to trust. Writing is often an intense and insular process, and it can be vulnerable to share a draft with a beta reader, agent, or editor, let alone share every step of the process with another creative. We had to get comfortable very quickly showing messy first drafts and half-formed plot points. But we both discovered that any potential downsides of co-writing creating interpersonal conflict are far outweighed by the benefits of having both of our brains working on the same idea and facing all potential holes and deadlines together. .

Over time, we have built a level of communication and professional respect that has resulted in a fulfilling creative partnership where we bring out the best in each other’s work, encourage and support each other through the inevitable creative blocks that arise during of writing. a book. Honestly, the logistics of scheduling is often the hardest part to juggle – we both release separate solo works, so we often swap deadlines or work on multiple projects at the same time.

While our co-writing process is truly unique to us, for any fellow writers who are interested in co-writing, we believe we can offer some words of wisdom. First, as you go through this adventure, accept that this is a new adventure. You may already be a seasoned professional writer, but while co-writing requires many of the same skills, it’s a whole different business, and it’s okay if you both have experience writing. an adjustment as you navigate this new style of process and perspective. Second, we strongly suggest discussing each other’s editorial styles and preferences up front, as co-writing requires you to be an editor as well as a writer. And finally, be sure to communicate as much as possible. Even though, like us, you can claim certain characters or sections of the manuscript as your own, you’re both in this together, and whatever you’re struggling with, your partner is there to help – and your problems are really their problems too.

However, as much as co-writing is a major undertaking that will challenge you as writers and friends, it’s also an absolute blast, full of fun, quirks and silliness. You call each other with a “quick question” and you’ve suddenly spent two hours on the phone. You’ll get a thrill when you finish a piece of writing you can’t wait for your partner to read. If you’re using Google Docs, you’ll see your partner’s cursor crawl across the page as they watch what you’re writing. You will become hyper-familiar with the truly insignificant differences between your writing styles. And, of course, you’ll have someone to celebrate with each time you hit an exciting milestone.

Co-wrote the We all wicked Duology has been one of the biggest challenges and joys of our careers so far. It made us better writers and better friends. In fact, we loved it so much that we decided to start all over again – if you like cursed romance novels, A fate so cold will hit shelves in early 2024.

We all wicked and All our disappearance are available now.

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