Monday, May 10, 2010

I went golfing on Saturday. I go once a year with my in-laws, and while I’m not a huge golf fan, I LOVE to play golf with the Olsens. It’s always a rip-roaring good time with them.

For readers of my blog, you have probably heard my wild and crazy ideas about collaborative composition before—the idea of a group of writers working on a single piece of writing. I've blogged about both the benefits, as well as the challenges and drawbacks.

But while playing golf I was reminded of why I think it would work so well. I’m a horrible golfer, probably the worst one in the group. I putt OK, and my short game is decent. But my driving is well past atrocious. Laughable is probably the best word because that is what everybody did each time I hit off the tee—all good natured, of course.

But we played scramble rules. Scramble means that everybody tees off and then the group goes to whoever hit the best ball and then everybody hits from there. Between the six of us, none of us was that good. But combined we were amazing. I think we hit a two or three under par, and almost had an eagle on a par five.

A couple of the brothers were good at driving, and I hit a few nice lobs onto the green. When six of us are putting, there is a good chance that somebody will hit it in, and I think there were only two holes where we didn’t one putt it.

I think writing can be the same way. If you had six writers working on a piece of fiction, you’re going to get somebody with good description, somebody with a keen eye for plot or character development, somebody pithy who will be able to tighten things up, and somebody else to make sure the voice is consistent.

If I could rewind the clock 5 years when I first signed up for a Ph. D. in instructional technology, I think I might have changed my mind. Instead of going for the Ph. D., I’d go for an MFA in creative writing. I’d love to teach, and I think collaborative composition would afford some great scaffolding for writers practicing their craft.

Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to pull it off. In the mean time, I need to go hit a bucket of balls. My goal for next year is to have TWO of my shots be the ‘best ball’.


M. Gray said...

I completely agree that work can tremendously improve with mulitple writers. I go to my friend, David J. West for hollistic thinking, my friend Tamara Heiner for copy editing, and am now getting LT Elliot's expertise with character development. My work would be merely good alone, but with their help, I hope it will eventually be fantastic. This is also a much more rational method than my dream, to have two brains. One to write the rough draft, another to catch all the weird things later. But then I would still be limited to ME.

Thanks again for your work at Storymakers. You are hilarious.

The Damsel In Dis Dress said...

Rosalie (my daughter) loves to write with others and it always seemed strange to me. But this analogy makes sense.

Playing "best ball" is the only way to


Grandparents Olsen said...

I agree, combined we were awesome. Individually, well, Tiger Woods need not fear. As for the writing part, I barely made it through English in school. Looking forward to next years crazy nine holes of golf.

Grandpa Olsen

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