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Working on a Team Writing Project

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 19 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Working On A Team Writing Project

On occasion it may be necessary to work as a team of writers on a project. This is very common in the television and film industry but may also occur if there is a big project to complete.

When carried out professionally, team writing can be incredibly successful as the best ideas and skills from each contributor can be perfected and merged with others writings with the hope that the works compliment each other.

Teamwork when carried out correctly can be very enjoyable and help writers develop their craft as they can observe and learn other writing techniques as well as their own and adapt their own skills to fit in with other writers.

What May Go Wrong on a Team Writing Project?

There are several possible complications that may happen in these situations. The most obvious problem is when the writers are unclear of their remit and the boundaries of their work. Another issue is making sure that all contributors are clear of the briefing of the project and the overall objectives and their own individual outcomes and targets.

Another possible issue is the question of who leads the project and manages the task. It can be very easy for people to inadvertently step into the role of leader meaning that at any given time, each writer may think they are responsible for the delivery of the project.

It is extremely important for all team members to know their role and position in the team. An allocated project manager should be selected who can then ensure that the team work together and not against each other.

Tips For Ensuring Your Team Work Well Together

First of all it is vital that all team members fully understand the project they are to work on. There should be no doubt in any writer’s mind of the outcome that is expected of them. A basic structure of the document of the document or text should be agreed so that everyone is working from the same template which helps to ensure the styles are not too different from each other.

Secondly it is important for all writers to have an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the other team members and draw on these when needed. This way, the work produced should reflect each of the strongest skills offered by the team. For example is one writer shows particularly good skills in the planning stagers, use this to the advantage and encourage this person to take over the role of planner for the whole project or document.

If however, another writer has a particularly good eye for continuity and detail, they can play a greater role towards the end of the project to ensure the entire text flows and shows no inconsistencies.

Another example concerns comedy writing as some writers are much better at writing sarcastic humour than they are at thinking of actual jokes which another writer may have a greater flair for. It is always good to remember also that even if a person does not appear to be an outwardly funny and humorous character, this does not mean that they cannot write comedy as people express themselves far better through writing sometimes than they ever can do in real life.

Editing can be often be a job for many of the team members as one person’s pair of eyes will see different mistakes to those of another. Each person can participate in the editing stage and you may be surprised at how many obvious you have missed that somebody else has seen almost immediately.

There are many strategies that can be used to ensure a team produces good quality copy when working together on a project. Team working however can be quite difficult for some writers as it is a very personal craft and each person has their own style and preferences. A strong leader is often needed to ensure that all members of the team are clear of the objectives and are all working towards the same goal.

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