An Inside Look At How Two Authors Collaborated To Write A Book

Illustration for article titled An Inside Look At How Two Authors Collaborated To Write A Book

Every author collaboration is its own little kingdom, complete with its own set of rules, protocols, and practices. Here's a look at how Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong collaborated to write the Blackwell Pages trilogy.


Marr joined us today for a Q&A about her Wicked Lovely series, her new book Made For You, and the series that she collaborated with Armstrong on, the Blackwell Pages. And she explained how the collaboration process worked for Armstrong and her:

I love this topic! There isn't a set way to do it. IIRC, Holly [Black] & Cassie [Clare] literally pass a computer back & forth. Kelley & I couldn't do that. EVER. We are both control freaks with very different styles, so . . . we decided to use our difference as a "feature" instead of a weakness.

I write multiple pov; she typically likes to write one.

I dislike outlines; she likes them.

I taught grammar so I have a hard time with fragments; she loves them.

So we each write different characters. She writes Matt, and I write everyone else (Fen, Laurie, & Owen). We use a loose outline, & we allow our writing styles to be reflected in our characters' voices to further distinguish them (important in multiple pov). We also write in order, & I can't write my next chapter until I read hers. Then, in revision, we go into the other person's chapters to correct our characters' dialogue & note any "out of character" actions.

It's been a very efficient strategy for us, AND we never strangled the other one. We did, however, start with a legally binding contract on all sorts of contingencies up to and including ownership of the rights if one of us died before the series was over ;)


You can read Marr's full Q&A — where she also made the first reveal of the cover for the UK and Australian editions of her new book, Made For You which you can see in full below — right here.

Illustration for article titled An Inside Look At How Two Authors Collaborated To Write A Book

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Cecilia Aubrey

This is a very similar strategy to how Chris and my method to the madness flows. We also work from a loose outline. In our case, we split POVs by gender. Chris likes to grove in the male perspective and I the female. A subtle difference is we work on chapters together. One may start or lay the foundation, but the other adds to it, edits, and adjusts character dialog, actions, etc., as we go. We will ping pong it between us until we are satisfied. At times, we may work on a couple chapters at once or scenes that popped in our heads based on discussions about the plot and any twists the characters throw our way. It is always fun to see how the wheels turn in other collaborative efforts. Thank you for sharing.