When someone finds out that we write books together, the first thing they usually say is something like ‘if I tried to write a book with my sibling, I’d probably kill them!’

A Crown of Talons

A Crown of Talons

Luckily, we’ve managed to avoid killing each other (so far), and our fifth book is out in January: A Crown Of Talons, the sequel to our Swan Lake inspired fantasy, A Throne Of Swans.

To celebrate, we’re sharing our top tips on co-writing. So, if you’re wondering about writing with a sibling (or with anyone else) but haven’t taken the plunge, read on…

1) Planning is important

If you’re writing alone, you can get away with making everything up as you go along. But if you’re co-writing, you need to be on the same page – at least metaphorically. Planning the story from start to finish is really useful, even if a lot ends up changing as you write.

2) Play to your strengths

If you’re writing from multiple perspectives, it can make sense to divide the characters between the two of you. Otherwise, though, we’ve found it doesn’t do to be too rigid about dividing up the workload. If one of you is great at dialogue and editing, while the other is a whizz at world-building, embrace it!

3) Stay close

But not too close. Yes to being in the same time zone; meeting up for editing discussions and plotting is great. No to being in the same room ALL THE TIME. Especially if one of you happens to be extremely chatty, and the other one needs to work in absolute silence…

4) Accept the inevitable disagreements

Yes, you will fight about killing off a character or about your co-writer completely re-writing your carefully crafted chapter without even asking. DON’T. PANIC. Remember, that annoying co-writer is also your sibling: however angry you are, you still hopefully love each other. We usually manage to talk through our disagreements, eventually!

5) Have an impartial referee

If you really can’t agree on what should happen in scene X or to character Y, ask the opinion of someone whom you both trust. Our lovely editors have acted as referee twice and have decided once in favour of each of us. Not that anyone’s keeping score.

6) Share the stress

Writing can be a lot of fun, but it can also sometimes be a massive source of anxiety. Rejection is inevitable for most writers at all stages. And it doesn’t get any easier to accept. At least with a co-writer, there’s someone else on hand who’s just as invested in your work as you are, so use that. Feeling bad about a bad review? No need to keep it to yourself! Share it with your sibling, and together you’ll hopefully get some perspective.

7) Have fun

Writing with your sibling is a great way to grow closer. This might be the first time since childhood that you’ve pretended together, creating your own world and its inhabitants. Unleash your inner child and enjoy it!

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