I have never collaborated with another writer or even considered doing so. The idea and opportunity have just never presented themselves. The closest I’ve come to collaborating on fiction is to interview real live folks who are willing to share their experiences to lend authenticity to a story.
So many people have stories to tell, but unfortunately, most industry professionals will tell you there’s no market for memoirs or autobiographies unless you are a celebrity or in the national news in some way. That doesn’t mean people don’t have amazing experiences to share.
This creates difficulties of its own.
The biggest difficulty is in presenting that you are using their experiences to bring integrity and depth to the story but you’re not writing about them specifically. This gets very muddy and awkward when people don’t see this clearly and can’t detach themselves from the facts they are sharing. No matter how many times you emphatically insist that you are not writing about THEM, they may not see it until they read the finished product (after publication) and may or may not be disappointed. Or angry. They may feel disappointed or betrayed because they didn’t understand (or didn’t want to understand) that this wasn’t their story. Sigh.
It may help if you share a little about the character as you go along, the direction you are going and perhaps the outcome, if you know what the outcome will be before you reach the end. And even then…
Happily, people are generally gratified to be part of the writing and creative process and recover from any disappointment or misunderstanding when they see their names in the acknowledgments. Hooray for acknowledgments!
We would love to hear if anyone has had experience – good or bad – in interviewing real life folks for fiction or has been interviewed and can give some insight.