Children and education, kids and girls reading book in parkOn Tuesday of this week, I heard a fascinating interview on Minnesota Public Radio. In fact, it was so interesting that I have preempted my planned post for today in order to share it with you.

In her regular Talking Volumes live interview, Kerry Miller talked with Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series, and Holly Black, author of the equally well-known Spiderwick Chronicles. The two authors have recently co-written The Iron Trial, which came out in September of this year.

In the interview, they talked about the way they worked together. I found it very interesting to hear how they build on each others’ work, session by session. Here’s a video clip of them talking about their method of writing together. You can listen to the full interview here (it takes nearly an hour, just so you know).

I have heard Emma Walton Hamilton (whom I interviewed earlier this week) and her mother, Julie Andrews, talk about their way of collaborating, in which Julie provides the “flights of fancy” and Emma provides the “nuts and bolts.” They often Skype when they can’t be in the same room, and talk through all their ideas while Emma serves as scribe. Emma talks about that process in an interview I did with her in 2012. That is a very different method to the one described in the interview with Cassandra Clare and Holly Black.

A friend and I were pondering this MPR interview, and my friend suggested I ask you, my blog readers, this question:

“If you were to collaborate with someone to write a book together, what do you think you would bring to the duo? What would you want in your partner?”

I think I’d bring both flights of fancy and nuts and bolts. I love thinking up story lines, but I also am keenly aware of the grammar and sentence structure side of things. I think I’d want/need in a partner an ability to see the story arc, to understand character development, to be solidly grounded in structure, while also being able to fly. Perhaps I’m looking for the kind of meeting of equals that Cassandra Clare and Holly Black have? It’s an interesting question to ponder.

I’d love to know how you would answer the question! Feel free to tell me in the comments.

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