With Where Treetops Glisten, I had the opportunity to do something I really enjoy: Work with other authors to make a family of characters come to life. This is so different from the “normal” way of writing when it’s me, my computer, and my imagination crafting a story. I love working with other writers on a collection. There’s such an energy that develops as we work together, bouncing ideas and details off each other, an energy that is hard to replicate in a solo project. So why did it work?
- Discover the strengths of your collaborators. I quickly discovered that Sarah is the spreadsheet queen and would help us manage the details of timelines and characters. It was awesome! Tricia is a creative genius. I knew the setting. Together we found the best way we could work together.
- Focus on the elements readers expect from each author and combine them. Once we agreed we wanted to work together, we hopped on a conference call to discuss what we believe each of our readers like in our books. It’s fun to see through reviews that our longtime readers are loving this collection.
- Develop a theme that can tie the series together. Our initial theme started with Christmas carols. So many wonderful carols were released during World War II, songs that we cherish today. Then we decided that our story would center on siblings and their experiences during the war – each in a different year. After that we decided their wise grandmother would hold the collection together through a prologue and epilogue in her point of view, as well as her presence in each of the novellas.
- Organize your information. We created a pinterest board in addition to spreadsheets to capture the information that would be necessary throughout the collection. I drew a floor plan, we all posted photos — everything from character models to newspaper ads from the time.
Collaboration can be a delightful part of writing as an author. As a reader have you read a project where more than one author wrote the stories? Did you enjoy it? What worked well?