Friday, July 13, 2012

Writer Collaboration

A friend on Facebook found an interesting site for collaboration among writers.  The way it works is someone, say me, posts an idea -- a plot for a story.  Then other writers flesh it out and develop it.

On the surface this sounds fine.  But then I saw all the legal stuff about rights and splitting of profits if the stories from the collaboration sell well and I lost interest.

Frankly, I'm not going to give away any of my ideas to anyone, not even my publisher.  But even if I put that aside, collaboration among writers is a tricky thing because writing talents vary.  If I come up with the idea and produce a solid first draft, someone else can come along and wreck it because their talent is at the same level.  Or the reverse can happen:  I come up with the idea and write a first draft and then someone else rewrites it and improves it more than I ever could.

In that situation how do you determine how I am compensated or how the other person is?  Is the idea worth more than the story itself or the other way round?

I don't know and the situation gets murkier still when you increase the number of writers involved.  In a team of five writers, if each writer does not contribute 20% of the whole, an even division of credit is unfair.

Now having said all this, I should say that I would like to see a way for writers to collaborate and work together.  I just don't see how it is possible because of the compensation, ownership, and rights issues surrounding it, which is sad.

I wish my friend luck on the collaboration site he found, but I think it will come to naught.

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