A little background information: When living in Los Angeles I worked primarily editing and doing editorial coordination for a magazine. I love words, I love editing, I love the precision and the tone of voice, and gosh darn it- I love to read (oh my teachers would be so proud). that being said, an acquaintance of mine is writing a novel and asked me to read over it. In truth, its a pretty good book. Beyond the basics of editing and paring down sentence structure, voice, tonality etc, his female lead needed a bit of an overhaul. She was in essence a man in drag. Her internal dialogue a little- well, not how the women I know actually think. So the first few chapters were sent back with notes like "change her voice here" or "women don't actually say things like this" with advice to go sit in a coffee house and eaves drop, or even better to go get his nails buffed at a local salon and just listen to what women say to each other when they are really in the presence of friends. To notice their interactions and to see if he could tell who was fighting, who genuinely loved each other's company, and who were competitive with each other.
The following version was a little better, but was accompanied by a note that said, this took me all week to complete, can you please put a female voice to this so I can see what I need to do as an example? So I did. About 10 minutes after the email went through I got a text that said, 'you are now the female voice'. Apparently, he liked it. And so the collaboration has begun. In my head, this is really his baby. His project his idea, I am just lending what I know to the situation. Yesterday we met for lunch to talk about direction and progress and I was surprised to hear him refer to the novel as "ours". Though I care about the project enormously and believe it will be successful, I do not consider it my project. For me, this is an interesting concept to contemplate. Is it truly a collaboration if it is someone else's idea? Or does a true collaboration start, as we did in class, around a table tossing out ideas and deciding together? I know these questions relate back to the readings we have completed during the semester thus far, but it once again brought these issues to focus for me. Yes, I am helping him with his novel, but I did not really feel as if I had any ownership to it. And if it is the case, than I suppose that all novels (and published works) are collaborations, through author, editor, publisher, etc.
Those were just my thoughts for the day, more to stew over later.