Collaboration

For a little more than three years now, I’ve been working with my friend Julianna Baggott on young adult novel. The concept was hers, and it’s a great one. She had a first 100 and an outline, and we decided to dive in together.

Julianna and I first met in graduate school as aspiring fiction writers. Through the years, we’ve stayed close — as writers navigating the publishing world, but also as friends. When we first started talking about this novel, which deals with parallel universes and people who can navigate between them, neither of us understood exactly what we were signing on for. But we knew we needed each other to make it work. The layers of storytelling, the psychological complexity of both the characters and all of their worlds, as well as the compelling ideas of parallel universes – especially the wish fulfillment of living many lives, not just one – demanded two minds.

And, in line with the concept of parallel universes, we’ve approached this novel many different ways. We’ve pushed each other and, as a result, have pushed the work much further than either of us could have alone. Our collaboration is the kind that only two close friends can master – steamrolling conversations in a language of short-hand, finishing each other’s sentences while building and building, each of us creatively charged by the other.

When I’ve talked with people about this, they invariably ask how such a collaboration can work. But at least for this project, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. I’ve learned so much, not only from writing about subject matter I’ve never touched before, and from working with a friend whose writing and generous spirit I so admire.

And I think we’re getting to the finish line finally, and hopefully we’ll be able to launch this baby into the world soon. More to come!

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