When I heard that author Molly Blaisdell was working collaboratively on a manuscript with three other people, all of whom I’ve met, I had to know more, and I thought Spectacle readers also might like to. Molly kindly agreed to write this guest post, which we’ll run over three consecutive Tuesdays. Enjoy! — Joni
A Group Book Perspective by Molly Blaisdell (Part 1)
As a writer I’m always searching for innovative ways to explore my craft. Deep inside me is a lurking need to take a less traveled path. Back in 2007, author and friend Chris Eboch contacted me with an idea to write a book in multiple voices, but not your typical multiple-voice book with many authors who pass the story to the next person or a two-author novel where the writing ego level is relatively low. The goal was to write one holistic novel with one story line and one group of central characters at the core — but with four authors. I was intrigued, but who was up for this task?
Of course, Chris Eboch – the author of the new HAUNTED series from Aladdin, including THE GHOST ON THE STAIRS and THE RIVERBOAT PHANTOM – spearheaded the project. Chris is a powerhouse author, and I knew if she was involved only genius could spring forth.
Next up, Louise Spiegler, a community college professor and author of THE AMETHYST ROAD and her upcoming 2010 Clarion novel, THE JEWEL AND THE KEY, tossed in her hat. Louise is the kind of author who brings together a synthesis of rich fantasy and historical nuance, and I couldn’t help cheering inside.
Then Chris Cheng, a talented Australian author, jumped on board with his extensive resume, including a picture book ONE CHILD and the newest title in the popular “My Australian Story” series, NEW GOLD MOUNTAIN. I felt the guy from Australia made our coolness factor shoot up exponentially.
And last, Molly Blaisdell, that’s me, the freshman on the project, with my stack of educational titles, including REMBRANDT AND THE BOY WHO DREW DOGS (Barron’s), confirmed. The players were in place. Soon four authors on two continents began a journey that was born of a shared dream to create a unique book from their respective talents. I could tell right off we were all serious, nose-to-the-grindstone authors and that we really shared one unique vision – sounds like a party to me. A friend gave me a book mark many years ago with the sage advice, “Trust your crazy ideas.” This project was that kind of leap. A guiding star on the early days of the journey was the following idea: “Folks who write for TV and movies always have teams of writers, and they create some interesting stuff. Let’s do that.”
Q: Why try a multiple author project?
Writing can be a lonely business, and the idea of working a project that wasn’t so isolated was attractive to me. The thought of doing something innovative within my craft was also a big draw. The concept of four authors sharing the weight of creating a novel was also interesting. Would it mean less weight in terms of the burden of creating an authentic fantasy world? I hoped so.
Next Tuesday: The results, including answers to more questions about project challenges, both practical and poetic.