Collaboration. Now, there’s a word I’d never expected to get excited about. But life has a funny way of dropping things into your lap that you least expected. This past year or so has been a lot about collaborating and the rest of 2014 is likely to continue that way. The surprising thing is, I’m loving it.
Project Number One is an Indian–Austrlian feminist young adult anthology. Now, that’s a lot of adjectives in front of “anthology”, but it’s really quite simple—a collection of stories about ‘what the world would be like if things were different’ and imagining the futures of girls (and boys) in such a world. The twenty contributors, ten each from Australia and India, comprising both writers and illustrators, were thrown another challenge. We were all paired with a partner from the other country. Some of the pairs co-created a single story, while others engaged in conversation about ideas and themes that excited them. The result: seventeen stories, some graphic, some prose and even a playscript.
The amazingly super and fantastic Kirsty Murray is one of the co-editors of this volume along with *blush* me and associate editor Anita Roy of Young Zubaan. The putting together of this collection resulted in an unending flurry of emails and Skype conversations. It was my first experience of editing and it was a blast. As of now, the manuscript has been submitted and the book will be out in late 2014 (in India, published by Young Zubaan) and early 2015 (in Australia, published by Allen & Unwin).
Project Number Two was knocking together my story for the Indo-Aus collection. My writing partner was Penni Russon. We exchanged emails and ideas, and came up with a theme and a quirky term to base our stories on, but we more or less did our own thing. This, however, was the first time I was engaging so closely with a fellow-writer in a way that would have a direct bearing on what I would be producing. I ended up with two (very different) stories and chose one for the anthology that I thought best summed up the whole collaborative process. There I go again, that C word!
Project Number Three is something that I’m just about to start work on. It’s a series of four school stories, each book written by a different author. Since I’m author number three, it means I’ll be working with characters and a setting created by someone else. I was slightly apprehensive when I said yes to this project, worrying about how limiting it will be. But now, after some bracing meetings and exchange of ideas, I can see that it’s really not. In a way, it’s easier as some of the work has already been done for me. But it is definitely going to be a challenge. In a fun way. I just have to pick up the baton and run.
So, as the Wonder Pets say, “What’s gonna work? Teamwork!”