A plan for collaboration on stories

So, recently, since it’s been mention so much on the Self-Publishing Podcast, I’ve been interested in trying collaboration with another author. Since I’m quite a systematic kind of person/writer, I’ve come up with my first attempt at what that collaborative process might look like.

Collaborative process

Before you start

–          Whose dashboard will the book go on?

–          Who has story veto power, if both people disagree?

  • If at all possible, both people should compromise or find a third way, but if they can’t agree, one person should have veto power;
  • This should alternate in order to make it fair.

–          How is any money divided? 50/50?

–          Series/Serial/Novel?

  • Is this going to be a series, serial or novel? Will the first volume be free?
  • If there is going to be a long-term series or serial, is there a planned ending in terms of time?
    • For instance, a series with 10 books planned, each 20K words long.
    • Or a serial with 5 books planned, each 10K words long.
    • Or a series of novels with an unknown number of books, each around 60K words long.

–          Dissolution

  • If one or both people are unhappy for whatever reason, they should be allowed to leave the partnership.
    • Agree who gets the rights to any half-finished work.
    • Agree who owns the rights to the series? One or both people?
    • If a single person gets the rights, do they have to share any profits from future works?
    • Is the person retaining the rights allowed to buy out the other person for a set fee? For example, for 5 years profits based on the current monthly profit report.

–          Privacy

  • Are either of the people allowed to let people know they’re working on the book?
  • Are there any things that either person don’t want talked about?
    • Personal
    • Contractual
    • Monetary
    • Creative



Discuss ideas for stories and agree on the five best.


Hold five brainstorming sessions, one for each idea and try to come up with as many cool ideas for the stories as possible.

Each person takes the cool ideas and separately writes an outline for each.

Combine outlines

Take the two outlines for each story and combine them, taking the best ideas from each.

Decide on a story to write

Discuss and decide on the best of the five outlines to turn into a story.

Write character outlines

Both people should write character outlines that will fit the story. They should then combine them to create the best possible characters for the story.

Flesh out the outline into a story plan with beats

One person takes the outline and creates a story plan, with beats. They pass it to the other person who refines it and passes it back. The plan should be passed back and forth until both people think it kicks ass.

Write the first draft

One person takes the plan and writes the first draft of the story.

Revise the first draft for logic errors

The other person takes the first draft and revises it to clean out any logic errors, fix the general structure and put their own spin on things.

Flowery prose the thing

The second, logic draft is then passed back and the first draft person goes through it, adding flowery prose and unique descriptions wherever they think of them.

Flowery prose the thing some more

The third, flowery draft is passed back and the second draft person puts their own flowery description, refining the description until it says the most possible in the least possible words.


The fourth draft then goes to copy-editing using Bogill and Grammarly, finding grammatical errors, overused words, etc.


The fifth, copy-edited draft is then taken by both people and they go through it looking for bugs. Reading out loud helps here. Once both people are happy:


The book is published on the dashboard of whoever both people have previously agreed on.


Both people should market the book in whatever way they can.


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