Sunday, January 12, 2014

TCWT January 2014 blog chain: Dream Co-authors

Time for another Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain. This month's theme is:

“If you could co-write a book with one author–living or not–who would it be and what would the book be about?”

This is a good one.

First of all, I'm not sure I'd want to actually co-author something, but maybe just be apprenticed to a great writer and learn from them. Of course, if I did that, I'd probably give my input on the book, so I'd sort of be co-authoring.


Since this prompt includes dead authors, I choose Charles Dickens. I've only read Little Dorrit, and the first chapter or so of Bleak House, but I've seen the miniseries based on each multiple times, and the characters and plotting are amazing. Everyone is connected to someone else and influences the plot in some way. It's spectacular.

Example from Little Dorrit (CONTAINS SPOILERS): Ms. Wade, a side character you don't see too often, meets Arthur Clennam (the love interest) in Marseille, where they also meet the Meagles. Arthur starts to fall for the Meagle's daughter, Pet. Pet, however, as the story progresses, falls for Mr. Gowan. Who you later find out jilted Ms. Wade. Now, Ms. Wade also tries to lure Harriet, the Meagle's adopted daughter-but-they-treat-her-like-a-favorite-servant away from the Meagles. When, in the middle of the story, Harriet finally leaves the Meagles and goes to live with Ms. Wade, you find out Ms. Wade is involved with Riguad, a creepy-as-all-get-out murderer. He gives her a box to her for safe keeping. Eventually, out of boredom, Harriet opens it, and finds blackmail-worthy documents about Arthur, his family, and how it connects to Little Dorrit's family. Ms. Wade is also involved with Mr. Casby, who monkeys with the plot in other ways, and who's daughter was once in love with Arthur.


Oh, delicious complexity. I could learn so much from Dickens. About characters, plotting, weaving together subplots...

The downside, other than his being dead, is that while his stories are genius (at least the one's I've read/seen) his prose can be kind of... tedious to read sometimes. Given that the man was paid by the word, this is not surprising, but it might drive me crazy. However, the opening chapter of Bleak House starts with this wonderful description of fog, so I could still learn from it. I could learn to be patient with lengthy and verbose prose if it meant I could write with him.

As to what our book would be about... Well, it'd be set in Victorian England, obviously, and be nice and complex, with lots of different emotions and subplots. Maybe the MC(s) would go through a couple of changes of circumstance. Rags to riches, perhaps. Maybe it could involve pirates. And one character could be a grave digger. (Random ideas.)

My second choice would be Brandon Sanderson (and he's even alive!), the author of the Mistborn books, which are currently my favorite series. I've learned so much from his Writing Excuses podcast, I'm sure I'd learn even more working with him. (Confession: I've daydreamed about being a guest star on Writing Excuses.) Like Dickens, his plotting and characters are wonderful, as are his magic systems. The biggest downside to working with him would be the fact that he writes books the size of my thesaurus. Of course, so did Dickens, and Sanderson's prose isn't such a loquacious quagmire. So, were I to co-author with either of them, I would have to learn to be patient with very long books. There are worse things to endure.

If I were to write a book with Sanderson, it would have an awesome magic system, mind-blowing plot twists, and characters I adored. Maybe it, too, would be about pirates and grave diggers. Grave digging magic system, maybe...?

Maybe not. 

I believe that is all I have to say on this matter at this time. Be sure to check out the rest of the posts on the chain!

5th –
6th –
7th –
8th –
9th –
10th – [Andrea. No link for her yet.] ... Hmm. Okay then.
11th –
12th –
13th –
14th –
15th –
16th –
17th –
18th – (We’ll be announcing the topic for next month’s chain.)

And a lovely day/night/whatever to you all! 


  1. Yes. Andrea's missing link has been quite a problem. Maybe we were supposed to discover a magic link...or spell :D

    your story ideas sound amazing! however, since I could barely wrap my head around the spoiler section, it probably means I wouldn't co-write well with your authors. thus my amazingly shallow post compared to all the rest of everybody's awesome, deep posts lol

    But seriously. "Grave digging magic system"? I approve.

    1. Ooh, maybe! That would certainly add intrigue to the blog chain.

      Thank you! I probably didn't do justice to the spoilers, so it might be understandable were you to read/watch it for yourself. And your post was good!

      I have to say, the grave digging magic system idea is kind of growing on me. May have to experiment with a short story or something.

    2. sounds good! would I get to read it?? ;)

    3. Well, if it turned out to be any good, I'd post it here, so anyone could read it. :)

  2. Who hasn't daydreamed about being on Writing Excuses? I can't wait for my turn.

    Good post, though. I thought about coauthoring with Brandon Sanderson, but I decided against it-- I'm just content to be inspired by him, and eventually surpass him as my awesomeness reaches extraordinary levels. But learning from him is a definite yes.

    1. *To the tune of a certain song from Snow White.* Someday, my turn will come....

      Thanks! Thus far in the chain, I think I'm the only one who's chosen authors based on what one could learn from them. Huh. That's the only reason I'd want to coauthor with someone other than my sister. (At the moment. I wouldn't be surprised if that changed over the course of my writing adventures.)

  3. Nice post! Charles Dickens is lovely, and I really need to read more of his books sometime. I like what you said about us learning from the writers we work with. Like I said with Lucy Montogmery, it's important to craft well together and balance the strengths and weaknesses out, so co-writers probably do pick up tips from each other. ;)

    1. Thank you! I need to read more Dickens, too. Agree about coauthors picking up tips from each other.