Meagan Spooner Amie Kaufman
Whose idea was it to write as a team and who came up with the idea?
We'd been writing together, a series of collaborative story-telling games, for years before it ever occurred to us to write a novel together. The idea for THESE BROKEN STARS came when we were ready to start one such new game, and Amie wanted to make the setting a shipwreck, and Meg wanted to make the setting space. We came up with the idea of a shipwreck in space and intended to write a bunch of little vignettes to entertain each other, all about the little groups of survivors. But we got completely carried away by the very first such group we made: Lilac and Tarver. We never got to writing any other survivors, and ended up playing with the characters for over a year before we started to wonder if maybe other people might have fun reading about them too.
What is your writing process together?
We often play out conversations and events together via instant messenger long before we start drafting the book, just to make sure the characters are well-established, and we have a vague idea of the events to come. Once we feel we've got a good handle on our characters, we then alternate writing chapters; Amie writes the boys, and Meg writes the girls. In revision, however, all bets are off, and we both rewrite stuff from each other's chapters. There are actually significant chunks of THESE BROKEN STARS where we honestly can't remember who wrote what.
Is it faster or slower writing as a team?
It's usually faster to write together, because we can literally work around the clock--due to the time zone difference, Amie's going to sleep in Australia around the time Meg's waking up in America. We usually do a little hand-off, recapping what we did and where we're up to, and then the other one takes over. That said, it's much slower to revise as a team. With revision we're much more careful to discuss everything, and make sure we're not making unwanted changes. That requires us to find more time to be online at the same time, and a LOT more working around the time difference, so it often requires more time than it would if there was only one person making decisions.
Any advice to writers considering writing as teams?
Communicate! The number one thing we see that tears collaborations apart is a lack of communication ahead of time. You have to make sure your goals are the same (do you want to get published? are you just writing for fun?). You have to make sure your expectations are out in the open (how fast do you expect your partner to work? how much of the book does each person write?). You have to make sure you agree on where the story is going--and if you don't agree, you have to know exactly how to work out that dispute. We've known each other for so long that we already had that communication in place, but it can be frustrating to work with someone whose expectations don't match your own.
Anything else you'd like to tell the League readers?
Thanks so much for reading, guys! If you want to know more about THESE BROKEN STARS, we put up all our news, along with contests and sneak peeks of upcoming projects, on our newsletter. You can sign up for that here. You can also find Amie and Meg on Twitter at @amiekaufman and @meaganspooner. And finally, if you've got questions, we're both on Tumblr: meaganspooner.tumblr.com + amiekaufman.tumblr.com. Isn't social media awesome? Authors and readers, a click away from each other.