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A Guide to unleash the Power of Collaboration in Fiction

In the world of fiction writing, collaboration has emerged as a powerful tool, allowing authors to harness the collective creativity of multiple minds. Co-writing and crowdsourcing have revolutionized the way stories are crafted, breaking the barriers of individual authorship and inviting a diverse range of perspectives. In this guide, we will explore the art of collaborative storytelling, providing insights, tips, and examples from real-life authors and writing projects that have embraced the power of collaboration.

I. Co-Writing: Blending Talents, Sharing Visions

Co-writing is a dynamic process where two or more authors join forces to create a cohesive narrative. A shining example of successful co-writing can be found in the works of James S.A. Corey, the pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Together, they crafted the acclaimed "The Expanse" series, seamlessly blending their talents to construct a richly detailed universe and captivating characters. Co-writing allows authors to pool their strengths, complement each other's skills, and bring a unique synergy to the storytelling process.

II. Establishing a Collaborative Framework

When embarking on a co-writing project, it is crucial to establish a collaborative framework that fosters effective communication and harmonious collaboration. Diana Gabaldon, author of the "Outlander" series, embarked on a co-writing journey with her son, Sam Sykes. They developed a set of guidelines, including open and honest communication, mutual respect for each other's ideas, and a shared understanding of the project's vision. Setting clear expectations and defining roles can help ensure a smooth co-writing experience.

III. Crowdsourcing: Tapping into the Collective Imagination

Crowdsourcing brings the power of collaboration to a wider community, enabling authors to engage with readers and fans in the creative process. Neil Gaiman, a master storyteller, embraced crowdsourcing for his short story "A Calendar of Tales." Gaiman invited his Twitter followers to submit ideas based on a set of prompts, which he then used as inspiration to craft twelve unique tales. Crowdsourcing not only generates a plethora of imaginative ideas but also fosters a sense of community and inclusion, making readers feel like active participants in the storytelling journey.

IV. Managing the Crowdsourcing Process

When crowdsourcing in fiction writing, it is essential to have a structured approach to manage the influx of ideas. Brandon Sanderson, known for his intricate world-building, engaged in crowdsourcing for his novel "Warbreaker." He created a dedicated website where readers could contribute ideas, offer feedback, and participate in discussions. Sanderson established moderation systems and guidelines to ensure the constructive flow of ideas while maintaining the integrity of the story. Effective management of crowdsourcing ensures a collaborative and productive environment.

V. Balancing Collaboration with Individual Vision

While collaboration brings numerous benefits, it is essential to strike a balance between the collective input and the individual author's vision. An excellent example of successfully balancing collaboration with individual vision in a crowdsourced project can be seen in the "Machine of Death" anthology. Edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki, this collection of short stories centered around a machine that could predict how people would die. The editors opened the project to submissions from writers around the world, inviting them to explore the concept and contribute their unique interpretations. While the theme and overarching concept were provided, each writer had the creative freedom to develop their individual story within the shared universe. This allowed for a diverse range of perspectives and storytelling styles while maintaining a cohesive theme. They struck a balance between collaboration and individual vision by curating the submissions, ensuring they fit within the overall narrative arc, and maintaining consistency in the quality and tone of the anthology. Balancing collaboration with individual vision allows authors to create a cohesive narrative while retaining their creative voice.


Co-writing and crowdsourcing have opened new doors of creativity in the world of fiction writing. Through collaboration, authors can blend talents, tap into the collective imagination, and engage readers in a dynamic storytelling experience. Examples from authors like James S.A. Corey, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, and George R.R. Martin demonstrate the power and potential of collaborative projects.

As you embark on your own co-writing or crowdsourcing journey, remember to establish a collaborative framework, communicate effectively, manage the process, and strike a balance between collaboration and individual vision. By embracing the power of collaboration, you can unlock new dimensions of storytelling, create vibrant narratives, and build a community of passionate readers who are eager to be part of the journey.


Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Parul Sood