Writing - Are you better alone or in groups?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by DarthGaul, Nov 1, 2008.

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  1. DarthGaul

    DarthGaul Jedi Master star 3

    May 25, 2004
    So what's your preferences in writing fan fic or otherwise? Do you find working in groups helps your stories flow better or give you more ideas as the work is passed from one writer to the other?

    Perhaps you're a "force" of one? Is writing more focused when you are the only person shaping, crafting and creating a story?

    Personally I do better alone. I can't share the glory in writing I'm afraid. Maybe that's due more to ego then anything, but really I know characters, plots and worlds better in my own frame of mind then having to share with others. Writing circles for one generally do not interest me, I'm sure others find them to be a big help, but I'm more the type to "Live in my own brain" when it comes to writing. Even if I'm stuck or having a writer block moment, I won't be happy until I solve the situation myself. Again, I think that's more ego then anything.

    That's what I'm like.

    What about you? Which do you find better in aiding your writing?
  2. Ubersue

    Ubersue Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 1, 2008
    I have never tried writing in groups. [face_thinking] Aside from getting my Master to beta read for me, that is.

    Sounds like it could be fun!
  3. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    My friend and I are writing a humour fic together, which is fun when we get writing done. I'm going to have to get together with her to finish it. Problem with writing in a group is if you disagree, you feel the urge to argue.

    Sometimes I argued with my friend about the story, only to agree with her ten minutes later!

    It's a good experience and you learn a lot about writing when you write with a friend.
  4. KELIA

    KELIA Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 26, 2005
    The last time I wrote in a group was in high school and it really didn't work very well for me because there were too many thoughts about how the paper should be written and it made my head spin!

    I've found it a lot easier to write with just one other person and I've been lucky to have great experiences co-authoring. I don't mind altering my ideas or even adding new ones to my stories. I think it makes the story that much better.

    That being said, I prefer to keep the co-authoring to a minimum. The bulk of my writing is done by myself because I the power of having total control over the story. :D
  5. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    I like both. The downside of working in a group is that you have to share your ideas and compromise. The upside is that it's fun and you've got someone to keep you on track and make you finish.

    I've had 2 posted stories with groups, one with one person and one with three or four. The former was based off of a movie, so we pretty much had the plot basics to begin with (and the story was her idea, so she was more creative in making it SW). The second was an original story, but it was someone else's idea and several of us just rotated chapters, but we knew what had to happen because he'd planned it.
  6. GuNgAnFaN3090

    GuNgAnFaN3090 Jedi Knight star 5

    Oct 16, 2008
    I've never tried writing with a group but I would. Anyone let me know if you need help with your Fan Fic.
  7. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    It definitely depends on the story. With humor fics, I can work very well on my own, but some of my funniest stuff has come from conversations with friends. With Fanfiction: the Musical, it always happened that one of us would write a post and the other person would be able to see just what it needed to be the best it could be. With angst, 99% of the time, I work best alone.
  8. DarthBerryStraw

    DarthBerryStraw Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 20, 2007
    I work best in a combination of the two. I do all the writing on my own, but I have two great friends who I'm constantly bouncing ideas off of, and I greatly appreciate their suggestions. I encourage them to give me ideas. I'll allow them to tweak small details if they feel it's necessary, but I still have complete control of where I want the story to end up.
  9. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    I've only collaborated once or twice and only with one other person. It was fun. I enjyed it. I'd be willing to do it again.
  10. Jedi Trace

    Jedi Trace SouthEast RSA star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Dec 15, 1999
    I?ve only collaborated with two other authors but it was, by far, the most fun I?ve ever had writing. :D

    Compromise is the name of the game and you have to find someone with whom your style/story is compatible, but there is something very special about sending a chapter or idea to a co-author and watching the magic that happens when they add/delete/tweak and send it back better than it was before.

  11. Trika_Kenobi

    Trika_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Nov 4, 1999
    As the lead editor on the Talon Intelligence Squadron series, I have a unique perspective on writing entirely. While I definitely know that if I wanted to plot my own story on paper and create the characters from scratch I could do it, I've completely fallen in love with writing in a group.

    At any point in time, I anticipate and manage up to four or five different authors writing completely different scenes... it's a take on the round-robin format that is actually organized behind the scenes rather than sequentially in its own JC thread. With a dozen or more authors on board the project, each with his own writing style, the story winds up being very robust after multiple edits from the crew.

    Here's the best part, though, in terms of the collaborating... I have an author who writes wickedly delicious action sequences, another whose descriptions are so elaborate that they make my jaw drop, and another whose ideas for the plot are just hilariously awesome. Now, if the second author writes a portion of our story, he might have gotten the plot from the third author and may get an edit from the first one to beef up his action. The total result is nothing short of a powerful and complete piece of story.

    Here's the best part about the group focus... I get to have the most awesome authors writing for something I'm writing for, too. That means that when I write something, I always know that someone else is writing something that connects with mine, or that will lead into it. I'm always impressed with what I receive to organize. I get girlishly giddy when I have a new piece of story to read and stick into the master copy. Seeing our outline come to life... our story... and to read the fantastic writing that every author brings to the table is too much fun for one person to have.

    I suppose that's why we've got a dozen Talons on board. [face_mischief]

    And that is why I've fallen in love with writing in a group.
  12. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    I've written one story with someone else (we decided on plot and then both did our own stories about it) and I've written in round-robins. My first experience with a round-robin was wonderful and to this day I wish it hadn't died but the rest of the round-robin experiences - not so much. Not that they weren't great but I write so slowly and everyone else so fast that it wasn't fair to them to wait for me.

    So now I only write alone.
  13. Trika_Kenobi

    Trika_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Nov 4, 1999
    The original Talon Intelligence Squadron round-robin was a lot like you mentioned, dianethx. Very fast-paced, and with little sense attached to any of it. :p Great organization and enough room to spread out and plan are the biggest factors that have made our current revamping even possible.

    I'm such a sucker for the big group concept. If anyone is attempting to gather authors for some sort of a round-robin or is intimidated by the large nature of such projects, feel free to contact me if you need help organizing it. At this point, I've got the planning portion down to a science, and I've got web space I'm willing to share if you need room to plan it all out. :)
  14. Ubersue

    Ubersue Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 1, 2008
    How about a round-robin for slowpokes? I'd join that! :)
  15. Jedi_Liz

    Jedi_Liz Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 24, 2000
    I've written two stories of my stories w/ co writers. And I am planning to write a third with a co-writer. One advantage is that you can help each other out of slumps. And the other writer can be so helpful in certain areas (one fic I wrote was an A/P fic and I hadn't written A/P before that story.)

    Many writers might bring different talents: one might be better at romance, one might be better at action, one might be better at angst.

    Personally, I think I MIGHT work better with just one other writer. Too many writers can take the story too many directions, like 'too many cooks can spoil the broth'.
  16. Thorn058

    Thorn058 Jedi Master star 3

    Jul 28, 2008
    I think a group experiment would be interesting. For instance say you have four or five writers and you choose a leader and that leader is responsible for the outline. Say something like the trench run from ANH and then everyone picks a different character and writes from that characters perspective. Since the ultimate ending is known a person cant get too wild but there is still wiggle room since like any good tale it grows in the telling. Say where Wedge is the hero because he saves Luke and thus enables him to destroy the Death Star. It would be interesting to see how it turns out.
  17. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    I participated in one round robin, and I will never do it again. It was in another fandom, but I quickly soured on the experience because of two writers who hated my character and the plot element that I introduced into the story. The creator of the plot outline wanted to make a method of traveling back and forth through time that wasn't technical, but looked interesting to the reader. So I came up with the pocket wormhole (a fully functional wormhole contained within a black marble that you throw on the floor to activate it). Given the nature of the story wasn't that serious, she liked it, and so did everyone else in the group...until one writer objected, saying that it was "too science fiction". But it was a time-travel story. :\

  18. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    leiamoody - I love the concept of a pocket black hole. What an interesting and unique concept! Brilliant, in fact. :D

    Ubersue - LOL you have no idea how long it takes me. My updates are usually 2-3 months apart, sometimes longer. I can't see sustaining a group like that over the long term.
  19. TheGallifreianSith

    TheGallifreianSith Jedi Youngling

    Jul 18, 2008
    Don't really like "writing" in a group or with a co-writer. When it comes down to the actual act, and not just discussion, I'm very much a creator of solitude. I typically have a very clear vision in my mind of what I want to do with a story. And it's easier for me just to write it, over explaining it to someone.

    I will admit to getting ideas from conversations unrelated to writing, and then bouncing off and refining them in conversations with other people over time; sort of a "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" approach.

  20. MeleanaKenobi

    MeleanaKenobi Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jun 28, 2002
    I enjoy writing with another person. A friend of mine used to get terrible writers block, and I tend to write to much. She'd give me a story when she drew a blank and I'd give it back when I got the feeling I was just rambling. I've written a few stories with co-writers and they've all been fun. Any more then two people though and it's just a mess in my opinion. I started writing one story that way and dropped out of it fairly quickly.
  21. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 22, 2003
    I've only worked with a co-author once. It was a good experience, though it can be hard to get multiple schedules to meet up.

    I'd say I work better alone, but it can be really great to have someone to bounce ideas off.
  22. Jedi_Perigrine

    Jedi_Perigrine Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 22, 2008
    I really love being a part of the Talons, even if I don't take part as often as I should. I just wait for Trika to give me a kick to the rear (which I often deserve). It's a serious honor to be in such a big and talented group, I encourage anybody who likes squad fiction or humor to check them out. It's always challenging trying to figure out which character's mannerisms are what, especially when you're thrown into the group with 12+ characters to start. ...Or what Trika's character Trika is doing with that stun baton sandwich. No, really...what're you doing with it? AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

    Ahem. I did another group collaboration with Sidious618 that was really entertaining too. I had very little real direction, just a 'get characters 1-4 from point A to point B in an interesting way'. It was made even more interesting in that I didn't really know how characters 1-4 got to point A before I got to play with them.

    I've done some forum rpgs, too...One was from The Gungan Council, where I was taken on as a Padawan by someone who was a Knight or better. Once they thought your writing skills were up to it, or a certain period of time elapsed, you were promoted and able to take on a writing student of your own. That part was always fun (even though my last "master" wasn't very exciting), but later when I tried to join other scenes with other characters, I'd often get ignored. Huge turnoff.

    I write fairly quickly, so sometimes I get a little impatient with those who write more slowly or don't have as much free time as I do. But I would definitely be interested in doing more group work, sometime after NaNo is over. :D Actually, I was KIND of thinking about starting a group story, but the more I flushed the idea out in my head, the more I decided I wanted to be writing the whole thing. So it turned into my NaNo piece. That was a surprise to me, since I didn't know about NaNo till the middle of October, and I didn't have any inkling I'd participate. :p

    Just my two credits. :)

    Oh. You want me to answer the question. Personally, I think I'm better at writing solo, but writing in groups has been a huge amount of fun. I'll definitely write with others again.
  23. Trika_Kenobi

    Trika_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Nov 4, 1999
    That stun baton sammich sounds awesome.
  24. DarthGaul

    DarthGaul Jedi Master star 3

    May 25, 2004
    Yeah I think too fast to share work with others. I'm kind of greedy when it comes to story creating. I have to have control over the characters and the plot, mainly because I have fully finished the story in my mind and know how it's suppose to be. I remember having to write as a group in high school (god that was a long, long time a town far, far away) and being rather bored by the others suggestions for concepts, plots and characters. If I had my way, I would have told them all to leave and just let me write the darn thing.

    Personal writing style and creative process tend to dictate how we either will or will not interact with one another.
  25. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 5, 2005
    I work better alone. I'm greedy and commanding. [face_blush] But I try to do so in a nice way! O:) [face_batting]

    Seriously though, while I love having people to bounce ideas off, usually -- unless my partner is extremely convincing -- the commanding part of me wants to follow through with my initial ideas. When it comes to writing, I'm like the kid who doesn't know how to share the blocks in the kindergarten class. I have some pretty ugly experiences from when I was not only co-writing, but co-directing a play in my class last year. My co-director and I got into some serious discussions about the different ideas that we wanted. Eventually, we were able to smooth out the problems, but neither of us work very well together in groups.

    My eternal shame. I can't share. [face_blush]

    I have worked in a co-author situation twice on here. The first one, I was filling in for someone and overall, it was a great experience, even though my time was quickly sapped away and I had to quit. The second time, the fic hasn't been posted and probably won't be for a long time since both my co-author and I got distracted. But we're good friends, so any problems that come up we should be able to deal with.

    I really admire the teams of writers who can work together. I'd love to try that someday, but for now, I think I'll stick with going solo so I can make sure I don't get anyone mad at me for being greedy about the plot and the characters. [face_blush]


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