Team-Writing a Fantasy Novel

Or how I’m writing a third of a novel

I am writing a novel. More accurately, I am writing a third
of a novel. I am part of the team, the fairy tale writing team.
The other evening when I went into the younger girls’
bedroom I discovered Gemma-Rose scribbling in
her notebook. She and Sophie were discussing the novel they are going to write
together. They told me they intended to write alternate chapters. “Sophie is going to
write her chapters from the view point of Symphony Riddle. She’s the princess’ companion. I’m going to write as Princess Gloria.”
I then asked, “Can I join in? Can I write the novel with you?”
Sophie and Gemma-Rose’s eyes lit up. They smiled. “Of course
you can! You can be Prince Eldon. You’ll need to write it as if he is saying
the words. Use the word ‘I’. First person, you know.”
So the girls are letting me be part of the team. We’re going to write a fairy tale together. But how are we going to organise the mechanics of three
people writing one novel?
“Shall we save our novel on a USB stick and pass it onto the
next person?” asked Sophie.
“How about we share our writing using Google Drive?” I
suggested. None of us knew how to do this so we consulted my husband Andy who showed us
what to do.
So we were all ready to start writing. Gemma-Rose
had one concern though.
“You will be a consistent writer, won’t you Mum? It’s very
frustrating when someone holds everything up by taking a long time to
write their bit.”
I assured Gemma-Rose I’d be a consistent and reliable
Then she said, “You might find this a bit hard. You’ve
never written fantasy before. We’re used to writing this kind of novel so it’ll
be much easier for us.”
“I’ll try hard,” I said. “I’ll do my best.”
So this morning Gemma-Rose wrote the opening chapter of our
new novel. She then sent me an email with a link to the document so I can write
the next chapter. There was only one problem. I didn’t listen carefully when
the girls told me the plot.
“Can you tell me again what I’m supposed to write about?” I
Gemma-Rose rolled her eyes. Mothers never listen. “I’ll
write it down for you.” Here’s what she wrote:
King Derek is eating
dinner and apologising that Gloria has run off when Symphony enters and says
something like this…

“Gloria was riding
ahead of me and I lost sight of her. As I came round a bend, my horse wouldn’t
move on. It was like there was a wall. Then a man appeared and told me to tell
you Rothbart has returned and he has Gloria.”

Eldon’s father volunteers
his son to go and rescue her, and Symphony insists, as companion to Gloria, she
is coming too.”

I found several other helpful notes:
Eldon: tall, dark and
handsome. Weapon: sword.
Symphony: golden brown
hair. Weapon: bow.
Gloria: golden wavy hair.

Now what shall I write? I’d better think quickly and begin
my chapter. Sophie is waiting to write chapter number 3, and she can’t start
until I finish. And I did promise to be a reliable and consistent writer. Can I
write fantasy? I don’t know, but I shall do my best. I can’t let the team down, can I?
“Gemma-Rose!” I shout. “What’s the name of Prince Eldon’s mother?”
“And what about Princess Gloria’s mother?”
Got it! Now I can start…

Has anyone else ever considered team-writing a
novel? Team-writing? I picked up that term from the girls. Writing as a team.
That sounds like a lot of fun. What do you think?

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  1. Reply

    My oldest two team wrote a novel about sentient fighting robots. It was one of the funniest stories I've ever read, really marvelous! They talked out the story together and had one writing the more descriptive passages, while the other concentrated on dialog. They got extra input from siblings, I think.

    When I was a young adult, I team wrote a 10 issue comic book series with a friend. It was a religious allegory/adventure story about a group of knights (on a quest, naturally). That time we each developed three characters, then talked out the plot points and character interactions. Then, since each "issue" revolved around a different character, we split up who wrote which issue. We both edited each other quite a bit, particularly with dialog. It was fun! We found a penciller and an inker (and a letterer) who were willing to work on spec, and got a submission together. Alas, we finished the proposal around the time the industry was imploding, and we never got it published.

    I really enjoyed fiction writing, but it tended to take over my brain to the extent that I don't really try it now. Then again, I don't read fiction much anymore, and I used to read a great deal. I have too many other things competing for time and brain space!

    1. Reply


      I enjoyed reading about your team writing stories! Such a pity you never got your comic book series published. I would have thought such a series would be very popular.

      I love fiction writing. Being in charge of a lot of characters and their world is great fun. But I get distracted easily. Fiction writing needs a lot of time and like you, I have too many things competing for my attention. Also like you, I don't read much fiction though I enjoy it very much. I find it hard settling with a book. My thoughts wander away from the story and onto the many things I am creatively involved with.

    2. Reply

      I meant to say, also, thanks for inviting us over! I'll let you know when we'll be "arriving." This will be lots of fun!

    3. Reply


      I can't wait for your 'visit'!

  2. Reply

    I love how Gemma-Rose has taken on the role of a mother in this experience. Making sure you'll do your bit and writing down the info for you. My girls do that sometimes too. Always gives me a giggle. We have taught them well … lol

    1. Reply


      Isn't Gemma-Rose bossy? Yes, she sounds like a typical mother! I giggled too. She was so serious… Would I write consistently? Could I write fantasy? If I don't watch out, I might be thrown off the team! That would never do!

  3. Reply

    What a cute idea! And I love that your daughter is taking control! Don't let her down!:-)

    1. Reply


      Gemma-Rose is definitely in control! I almost did let her down last night. Despite being tired, I wrote my chapter after dinner. I was relieved when it was finished. And then just as I was about to share the document with the girls, I realised I hadn't written the story using first person. I'd forgotten all the 'I's Gemma-Rose had talked about. So I had to go back and change everything. But my revised chapter was good enough for the girls. They are going to let me continue writing with them!

  4. Reply

    Aww, I wonder how you will do, writing fantasy… I haven't done that for years! But I do use a bit of fantasy, when I invent good night stories and tell them by heart.

    1. Reply


      I reckon fantasy is easier than reality writing in some ways. Yes, a good imagination is needed but anything can happen in a fantasy world. It doesn't necessarily have to make sense!

      You tell good night stories? I've never done that before. I'm not very good at thinking up stories on the go. Have you ever written your stories down. I'd love to read one!

    2. Reply

      It's thanks to my 3 yr old daughter. She demands the stories! I find it easier to read from a book. But then again, it is a good practise for me! When I write, then usally "real things" like experience, diary, topic stuff and so on… I'd like to write a fantasy novel once 🙂

    3. Reply


      Your stories sound very much like mine. I use real life experiences when I'm story telling. I write about what I know which makes things easy! Perhaps you could try doing NaNoWriMo one year and write your fantasy novel!

  5. Reply

    This sounds like so much fun! Gemma-Rose seems a bit like my 7 year old granddaughter ("Bunny"). I was teaching Bunny to do collages last week and she then started teaching ME. Natural born teacher. She also seems to be a natural born writer, and we've done storytelling "in turns" for years. Now I'm thinking it won't be long before she might be ready to team write a novel.. you've inspired me!

    1. Reply


      I think children really enjoy being in charge and teaching us, instead of the other way around. They have lots of good ideas to share!

      I can just imagine you and Bunny telling stories together. What a blessing to have a grandmother who has time to enjoy such things. I bet you have lots of fun with your granddaughter. Perhaps you could type out your stories even if Bunny isn't quite ready to write them down. She could dictate her bits. The resulting stories would be treasured I'm sure!

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