Have you read a multi-author collaboration yet? They can be such a fun way to set up camp around an intriguing premise or in a heartwarming setting.
Sometimes, all the stories are based in one setting, grouped fairly close together in time, such as in the Heroes of Freedom Ridge series. Other times, as in The Christmas Heirloom novella collection, perhaps it’s one item, passed down through generations, that ties the stories together. Or, it could be a season—both of those collections center around Christmastime.
One thing I enjoy about collaborations is that they let me sample new-to-me authors. What a great way to find new favorites! For example, I read the Christmas Heirloom collection because I’m a Becky Wade fan. That’s how I discovered how much I like Karen Witemeyer’s writing.
Another draw is the way certain elements carry over into all the stories, expanding the story world and making it seem more and more real with every overlapping character, place, event, or item.
As a writer, however, I wondered about the challenges of creating closely-tied stories. I imagined penning a scene that included someone else’s character would be especially difficult. After all, main characters, especially, become pretty distinct! How could someone get all the nuances right if they weren’t the one to come up with the character in the first place? How do these collaborations work?
I got to find out first hand when I was invited to join the Christmas in Redemption Ridge series, and I thought you might enjoy a glimpse behind the scenes.
One of the first things that landed in my inbox after I agreed (quite happily, I might add) to join the series was an email outlining some of the basics including how long the story should be, where it was to be set, what point of view to use (dual narrators, third person), and so on.
This provides a framework so readers can know, in general, what to expect when you choose to pick up a Christmas in Redemption Ridge story.
To get the details right, we also keep a spreadsheet about characters, places, and events.
Then, there’s coordination directly between authors. If someone else’s character makes a cameo, the author writing the scene sends the original creator of the character the excerpt. That way, the original creator can advise of any details that might need to be changed.
I got to put all of this to use when I set out to write the epilogue for my contribution to the series, Bidding on a Second Chance. Because it’s the last that will be released this year (don’t worry—more are planned for next year!), I thought it would be appropriate to end with a scene that has cameos of characters from every participating author.
What I would’ve imagined to be difficult turned out to be a smooth and fun process because of the framework we already had in place. (And it doesn’t hurt that the other authors are all gracious and kind, making them a joy to collaborate with!)
If you’re curious how it all turned out, I hope you’ll pre-order Bidding on a Second Chance. But for all those cameos to mean the most, don’t miss the earlier books in the series! Marrying the Rancher’s Daughter and Remembering the Rancher are both out already, with another book releasing once every two weeks through December 13th. You can browse the whole series here.
Which multi-author collaborations have you enjoyed?