PRO: You’re writing a story with your best friend.
CON: You’re writing a story with your best friend.
It’s hard, man. (But can be so, so worth it.)
Story time! My best friend and I met years ago, while we were studying abroad. We got lost together in London and bonded over our early love of Meg Cabot, author extraordinaire, while we unsuccessfully navigated the Tube. (We accidentally happened upon Big Ben, which is an amazing feat seeing how huge it is (above), and had a great conversation with a police officer on the best place to get a pint.) We became friends after I was already pretty involved in our local NaNoWriMo group and had created the writing organization at our university, but she joined in both once we were back home!
Fast forward four years, and it just seemed natural to write a book together. We like to read the same genres, more or less. (I tend to lean more into sci-fi and she leans more into contemporary, but otherwise the same.) I’m not even sure how the conversation came about, but soon enough we were sitting down at our favorite bubble tea haunt and plotting a New Adult novel! (The picture below is actually from our first brainstorming session! The terrible penmanship is mine…)
As of a few weeks ago, we officially finished our first draft! We’ve even received feedback from our lovely first reader (check out his blog here)!
While the overall experience has been nothing short of UH-MAZING, there are still some arguments against (and for, I’ll talk about those, too) co-writing a story with your best friend, such as…
CON: As with co-writing anything, agreeing on direction/character motivations/subplots/etc. can be a challenge. This is harder with your friend, whom you likely haven’t worked as closely with as you will when writing a novel, and whom you may be completely disagreeing on a number of things with for the first time.
SOLUTION: Both writers need to practice give-and-take. If your friend staunchly opposes one character trait for your MC, and you only kinda don’t care, go ahead and go with what your friend wants. And vice versa! As your plotting, make a list of these things and check at the end, so that one friend isn’t being steam-rolled in the decision-making choices.
Another good solution is, depending on the story, splitting the characters each person writes and is responsible for. If you can agree on the plot, then each person has their respective characters to do with what they please (within reason).