Two Heads Are Better than One…Unless One Head is Rabid and Spiteful

04/06/2011 at 7:42 pm (Writing) (, , , , , , , )

I know, that was a really long post title, but I figured today it might be fun to talk a little bit about the perks and pitfalls of working with another writer on a novel, or at least the perks and pitfalls that I’ve come across so far.


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but right now I’m working on a novel with my sister.  We both hope to be published someday, we both mostly write young adult fantasy novels, and we both like having strong, female protagonists.  So pretty much, we’re a good fit to be working together.


Before starting this novel, my sister and I talked about writing one together for a long time.  Then I had this idea that I was running by her that I originally was going to write on my own, and a light bulb went off, and I asked her if she wanted to write it with me.  Since then, my idea has merged with her warped imagination and evolved to become our idea.


One of the big perks about writing a novel with her is that she is a more experienced writer than I am.  I’m not ashamed of this fact since I did spend a large part of my life trying to perfect my drawing, not my writing skills, while she’s wanted to be a writer pretty much her entire life.  And since we are working on this first draft together, it feels more like a second, or even a third draft to me.


But one of the pitfalls that I keep stumbling into working with her is that she likes to throw completely unexpected characters and side plots my way that we never talked about.  How is a girl supposed to work under these conditions?  Plus, I’m one of those people who likes to outline and plan out my novels before hand, with the occasional unexpected scene that writes its own way into my story.  My sister on the other hand, likes to write stories by the seat of her pants.  So that means while I’m working with her, I have to be prepared for anything she might throw at me.


Even that particular pitfall isn’t all that bad though.  It just means that she adds more flourish and depth to out story while I try to keep us somewhat grounded to the main plot and keep it moving along.  All and all, I would say our styles work well together, and it’s nice being able to take a small break from a story I’m working on and still know that progress is being made on it.  So the only real pitfall that I’ve actually come across is that I spend more time with this new novel rather than fixing up my old one.




  1. Ally said,

    You are so lucky to have someone to write with and understand your passion. It sounds like your styles compliment each other well – good luck to you both 🙂

  2. lunaleo said,

    Sounds like you’re lucky to be writing with such an awesome, amazing person. 😉 And really, who wouldn’t want a baby rhino in their story?

  3. jessrsheaffer said,

    What a wonderful experience! I am working currently writing a memoir with my mother on her life. Talk about perks and pitfalls! I think my issues come from writing fiction and nonfiction being a bit of a challenge. But best of luck to both of you!

  4. Caitlynn Lowe said,

    Awesome! My sister and I have also discussed working on a novel together, but we’ve yet to decide on an idea. I’m sure there are bound to be similar pitfalls.

    Speaking of sisters who write…there are two sisters who also wrote a book together and recently got it published. It’s called “The Liar Society.” In case you’re curious, their blog is at:

    • Kati Bartkowski's storysketches said,

      I’ll definitely have to check out their blog.

      Writing with my sister has been a lot of fun. And it’s great being able to bounce ideas with her and talk our plot issues.

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