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Is it worth the risks?

by Durant Imboden

Before you seek a collaborator,
know the pros and cons.

Many new writers like the idea of working with a collaborator or writing partner. Writing is a lonely occupation, and sharing the challenges and risks with another author can sound more appealing than going it alone.

Unfortunately, finding and working effectively with a collaborator can much more difficult than achieving solo success. This is true for several reasons:

Collaboration is most successful when writers have complementary skills.

In an ideal scenario, one person might be better at story development while the other might have a knack for lively description and dialogue. Or one might be a whiz at historical research, while the other might have the critical skills to see what's working and what isn't. The challenge is in finding a partner who complements your skills--and who needs the skills that you bring to the party.

Collaboration can lead to personality clashes.

To work effectively with another writer, you need to be confident in both yourself and your collaborator. You also need the ability to divide responsibilities, review each other's work, and make decisions about character, plot, scenes, etc. without letting egos get in the way. This is harder than it sounds, especially if you don't know your collaborator well.

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