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01 February 2011 @ 11:55 am
So NOT ONLY did I kidnap genarti for the last week of December, but I ALSO chained her to the computer and forced me to co-write a New Year's Resolution fic with me! Which is now up on LJ as well as on AO3. With thanks to our betas futuresoon and dictator_duck!

Title: Five Times Firo And Ennis Fought Together, And One Time They Danced
Authors: genarti and bookelfe
Characters: GUESS. Uh, but okay, Firo/Ennis with cameos from the Gandors, Czeslaw, Maiza and Claire.
Spoilers: Post-canon, with spoilers for the entire series.
Summary: When you've got this kind of lifespan ahead of you, you can afford to take things kinda slow.

(The way Firo sees it it's more important that they're in rhythm with each other, and they've sure got that part down by now.)

And now I am going to talk a little bit about the co-writing process! Which I think is a really interesting process, and which I haven't done much before - at least, not since I was in middle school and my middle-school-BFF and I decided we were going to write the Great Elfquest Musical, Featuring Music By N'Sync, which tells you what you need to know about that.

The first time Gen and I co-wrote a fic, it was a short work for fma_ladyfest as a last-minute reward for a pinch-hitter of epic awesome, and we did it the relatively easy way - alternating bits from the POV of two different characters, and then when they had to talk together we essentially role-played out the dialogue.

This fic is a bit more structurally complex, and also we had the advantage of being in the same place at the same time for the writing of it. We started by working out an outline, and then both set up station on our laptops and opened a shared document in Google Docs. One of us would take point on writing a rough draft of new stuff, while the other went back and edited over the bits we already had, or filled in bits that the point-writer had been stalled on. When the person in charge of writing at the moment hit a section that they thought the other was more qualified for, or just got tired of churning off words and needed a break, we'd switch off.

The bits that were being newly written tended to look something like this:

"[SOMETHING]," Czes says and sidles behind a crate, while Maiza heads warily forward. He can hear thumps now, and the grunts that come from people hitting and people being hit. He slides his hand into his coat to retrieve [does Maiza use one knife or two, anyway?] before he rounds the corner, ready to defend himself at a moment's need.


(We could probably have just said "you get to write this next bit!" out loud, but it was more fun to watch ghostwritten letters appear in secret messages over the screen. That said, being in the same room did mean that when we had actual questions about how we thought a bit should go, we could talk them out.)

The advantage of constantly trading off and having someone editing while the other wrote is that we could smooth out our style a lot so it wasn't giant blaring chunks of "Gen-voice!" and "Becca-voice!" Which is not to say that those bits would be impossible to pick out by someone who knew us and our writing, but it did help. It also helped enormously that we've been betaing each others' work for years now, and that the things we enjoywriting are complementary - I knew I could dump the heavy lifting for description and fight scenes on Gen, and she could pass the ball on banter to me.

In the end, I think, you can tell co-writing is going well if it's fun - if you're constantly filled with glee over the bits that your partner is doing, and excited to add your part. Which is how we ended up writing about 6000 words in one evening. NOT USUAL for me, I can assure you.

What about you guys? If you co-write, what methods work best for you?
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gramarye1971 on February 1st, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
When agonistes and I were writing our 'hey, it's winter break and I'm bored, want to toss fic back and forth?' story, we didn't have access to that newfangled Google Docs contraption. ^_^ So we pretty much threw the fic back and forth at each other as a Word file over e-mail, each person adding about a page and tidying up any typos in the previous person's section. Looking back, it was more of a round-robin fic than a true co-written fic -- you can tell easily enough who wrote which parts, and we weren't really trying for perfectly seamless story flow. But I think that if I were to co-write a fic these days, I'd do something similar to your methods, through Google Docs or something that allowed real-time editing.

And just so I can say it here as well, two very enthusiastic thumbs-up on the fic itself!
the real kwon: real nice girlbookelfe on February 1st, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
I have to say, it took me a while to come around to this newfangled Google Docs contraption, but now I am total convert! Aside from how easy it makes cowriting, it is also just kind of amazing to watch words appear on the screen in front of you that you didn't have to write. *___*

And thank you! :D I am super glad you liked it.
the cry of strange birds: good timefuturesoon on February 2nd, 2011 12:05 am (UTC)
Ahahaha, I am still not very good at this whole co-writing thing, because I have not been very good at this whole writing thing in general as of late >.> But your meta gives me hope for the future! The probably-in-the-summer-when-vidding-gives-me-fannish-mojo-again future
the real kwon: ando says ok!bookelfe on February 2nd, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)

hahahaha probably-in-the-summer-with-fannish-mojo SUITS ME FINE. In the summer after my big work conference when m-maybe I will have exciting grad school times ahead of me! MAYBE POSSIBLY.
Weaves: rabbithole: panya is awesomer than youweaverandom on February 2nd, 2011 03:57 am (UTC)
trelali and I co-write ridiculous, ridiculous amounts of stuff in GoogleDocs. It is just so handy! Because we picked it up from RP we usually stick to character-by-character, but we rewrite and add and change bits however we feel like.

We write mostly to entertain ourselves though, so while all our stuff from like 2006/2007 is complete, most of the new stuff has sections like [BLAH BLAH FIGHT SCENE VERY DRAMATIC I CAN'T BE BOTHERED WRITING IT][LOL NO ME EITHER][BUT IT'S VERY DRAMATIC] and occasionally [BORED NOW LET'S DO SOMETHING ELSE]. It is very easy to get lazy. >>

But it's AWESOME. Cowriting is the best writing!
the real kwon: COOL GLASSESbookelfe on February 2nd, 2011 05:14 am (UTC)
I think RP is really good training for co-writing! Because you learn how to roll with what other people throw at you and go "THAT'S AWESOME" instead of "OMG that is not my visiooooooon."

Hahaha, so many sections of [WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WORD SHOULD GO HERE OH WELL] in the first draft. SO MANY.