Guest post! Writing Wednesdays: How to successfully co-write a book - with Kelly Anne Blount

In this special guest post, author and Wattpader Kelly Anne Blount, and her co-author, Lynn Rush, share their tips on how to co-write a book!

Carrying on a month of guest Writing Wednesdays posts from some wonderful Wattpad writers, this week's post is from Kelly Anne Blount, talking all about how to (successfully!) co-write a book.

Before we get stuck into Kelly Anne's advice post, here's a little more about her and her writing...

I first met Kelly Anne a few years ago through Wattpad and think she's such a great writer - so I was especially excited when her YA dark thriller, Captured, was optioned by Komixx, the same producers behind my novel The Kissing Booth! She hosts the bi-annual Wattpad Block Party and contributes to Wattpad's chat-style stories app, Tap, where her stories have been 'tapped' over 50 million times. Plus, she has a novel coming out with Entangled Publishing in a few months called I Hate You, Fuller Collins - so keep an eye out for that!

Here's a little more about Captured:

Kidnapped, blindfolded, and thrown in the trunk of a car, Abriana Vega's date with Easton Pierce has taken a terrible turn in a deadly direction. Cursing herself for going on a date with someone she met online, Abriana has no idea that Easton isn't the only one who wants her dead. As her days in captivity crawl by and her plan to escape is thwarted, Abriana begins to lose faith. How long does she have left?
Will she escape? What will become of Easton Pierce?

Since this post is about co-writing, it also includes some tips from Kelly Anne's co-writer, Lynn Rush - a New York Times bestselling author, whose experience as a former addictions therapist and competitive athlete lends to stories about "complex heroines and the men who dare to love them". (Uh, love it!)

Now, back to the writing advice!


I love writing dark and gritty books.

However, I’m also a huge fan of writing sweet YA romance. Especially, sports romance! I have a YA sports romance book, titled I Hate You, Fuller Collins, coming out late this year/early next year with Entangled Publishing, and the book I've written with Lynn Rush is called Penalty Box - which is what we're going to talk about in this post!

Now, on to the topic of co-writing!

Last year around this time, I was talking to my good friend and lit agency sister, Lynn Rush. Lynn and I had been critique partners a few times and I loved her books. We have a similar style and pace of writing, which is very helpful for co-writing. 

Anyhoo, we started talking and I asked her if she might want to write a book with me. I was really nervous to ask her because I really admire her as an author and a person. But, being the super cool person she is, she said YES! (Woot woot!)

We talked over iMessage and on the phone, going over potential ideas until we settled on one. From that point forward, we kept track of everything in a Google doc. 

What the process looked like 

After coming up with the idea, we created a short and long synopsis. This was fluid and we changed it multiple times, but it was a great starting point. 

Next, we created character maps. Everything from hair and eye color to common phrases our characters used were recorded. We did this for our main and secondary characters. (This is always a helpful task to do if writing on your own or co-writing.)

Following the character maps, we worked on creating chapter outlines with dates. This also changed as we wrote, but it helped us keep track of major moments and the time frame everything was occurring. 

After getting everything prepared, Lynn and I started writing. We each took on one character’s point of view while writing. So, I wrote all of Willow’s chapters and Lynn took on all of Brodie’s chapters. 

Most days or every other day, Lynn and I each wrote a chapter. 

That allowed us to write the first draft of the manuscript fairly quickly. 

Writing, “THE END,” was such an incredible feeling, but we knew that we were far from done! We needed to edit and polish it up until it was ready for our agents. 

Lynn is the best at cutting words, paragraphs, and even entire chapters. (Thank goodness!) Lynn and I red penned the manuscript multiple times, including an edit where we read most of the manuscript out loud. It’s a great way to find errors! 

Finally, our project was ready for our agents! Woo hoo!

Since turning our manuscript in, our agents had feedback, which meant we were going to go through another round of edits. 

The final project, Penalty Box, is a well-polished manuscript with an awesome tagline, “Take the shot. Face the penalty.” 

Writing with Lynn was an absolutely amazing process. She definitely helped me become a better writer. I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to work with such an awesome author! 

We are so excited for everyone to read our YA sports romance, Penalty Box - stay tuned to our social media accounts for announcements! 

Speaking of Lynn, she shared her Top Ten Tips for Co-Writing a Book below. 

1. Have Fun! Writing can be a solitary career, so to join up with someone like-minded is a blast. I love writing, so it was an awesome process, even when we disagreed.  

2. Be flexible. Flexibility is key. You don’t know it all, neither does your co-writer, so be open to what your partner has to say or suggest. 

3. Agree to disagree. One funny thing we disagreed on was using abbreviations in the story. I’d decided Brodie, my character, would use abbreviations in his dialogue like: Awes & Perf for awesome and perfect. Or some comments/thoughts such as “snot rags” and “she had me by the balls.” Remember those Kelly? We had some great conversations about words and phrases such as those. We met in the middle and went with what best matched the character and story line. We didn’t agree on everything, but if you think about it, when does anyone agree about everything? So it’s all good!  

4. Write toward your strengths. I write the male POV better than I write female POVs. My style of writing is choppy and action-filled, Kelly has more prose/description. Kelly helped me smooth out my choppy writing and I helped smooth out areas that she might have had a few too many words. So yeah, write your strengths, but let your partner help sharpen your skills. The minute you think you know it all…it’s game over.

5. Communicate. We talked on text a lot, brainstorming, checking in, helping each other stay on focus. We set goals and worked our best to reach them. If we couldn’t, then we talked about it. We hopped on phone calls when we needed to, and that was fun as well, because, like I said early, writing can be pretty solitary. It’s nice to chat it up with someone who loves writing as much as you do!

6. Google Docs is good. This was my first experience with Google Docs as far as writing a book together. It was pretty cool to see Kelly in the doc, changing things up, editing. We’d sometimes get on chats right in the document, too. That was way cool. I know, I totally just dated myself, but that’s okay. It was fun and real time. 

7. Brainstorm—even the stupid ideas. It’s actually kind of fun to bounce ideas off another writer you’re sharing a story with. We know both POVs and the story line, so the brainstorming can get pretty focused as well as pretty wacky. But I like wacky, because it helps us get to where we need to go. It was super fun, too. 

8. Trust: Most of the previous mentioned tips lead to trust, but even before you start writing together, having some trust helps. Kelly is an agency mate with The Seymour Agency, I had participated in the Wattpad Block Party a couple times, and we’d done some critiques of each others’ work. So, it was a NICE fit. 

9. Take Risks. Now, I’m a “seat of the pants” writer—all the way. So when we started talking about having the plan/outline things, I got kinda nervous. I’m more known for opening a blank document and typing. It’s a messy start, but then I usually go back and solidify the plotting and planning during the edits, tweak things, etc. But that doesn’t work so much with co-writing. So, it was time to stretch myself. Give plotting and planning a chance. Kelly helped a TON, and it was fun to try outs something new. 

10. Refer to #1: Fun is a HUGE factor to me in everything I do. Not just writing. Having fun running the trails with my Snot Rockets & Trail Sisters groups, writing, working…Life’s too short to not smile and enjoy it. So yeah, it’s worth putting on this list twice. 


Huge thank you to Kelly Anne for the wonderful post, and Lynn for the top ten tips - as someone who's never co-written a book but wondered about it, I definitely learned a lot!

You can find more from Kelly Anne on Wattpad, Twitter and Instagram, and more from Lynn on Twitter and Instagram

Next week, I'll be sharing more advice from Wattpader Jandra Lee, so make sure to keep an eye out for that!

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