Partnership 101byComing Together©
Welcome to Coming Together, the show by and for authors of erotica! Our topic this afternoon is collaborative writing. Joining us today are two exciting authors who have Literotica to thank for their "coming together" -- Will Belegon and Alessia Brio (a/k/a "impressive" or even "Imp"). Let's give them a warm welcome. *applause*
Host: Please tell our studio audience how you two came together.
Alessia: Um, that's a little personal, don't y'think?
Will: He's referring to our writing, ya little minx. *laughter*
Alessia: Oh, right. Sorry. Well, as you said in the introduction, we met online—but we didn't jump right into bed with one another. We got to know each other pretty well first—became friends, established trust. That's important, I think, for satisfactory collaborations. Writing erotica is very much an exhibitionist endeavor. In a way, it's like masturbating in front of an audience. Doing it with a partner just doubles that exposure.
Will: And, as if that's not intimidating enough, you're trying to please your partner in addition to pleasing the crowd. Talk about performance anxiety!
Host: Interesting analogy. Okay, so how do you get started?
Alessia: No matter how often you masturbate, and how good you are at it, you can still expect to feel all the nervousness and anxiety associated with a new affair—and that's true whether you're a virgin or a veteran. Everything's fresh and exciting.
Will: And Alessia's a masturbation expert—a real crowd pleaser. She's not afraid to use some innovative tools to improve the outcome, either.
Alessia: You're no slouch yourself, mister! It can be intimidating to get involved with someone who already has a reputation for his oral—I mean, verbal—skills. You wonder how you'll measure up, y'know?
Host: So, if I'm understanding you correctly, collaborating is like whacking off together—on stage?
Will: That's an oversimplification. Our first couple of collaborations were written in this mutual masturbation kinda style—and it is a nice way to get used to one another. I'd write a section from the male character's point of view, then Alessia would write a section from the female's. It's called 'alternating third person limited point-of-view.' We'd go back and forth a few times until the story reached its—um, climax. Other than some proofreading, though, we tried to keep our hands off each other's parts.
Alessia: Yeah, and that was really tough! There were times when I so wanted to touch Will's parts—almost aching with desire—and I'm sure he felt the same.
Will: You could say that. I'm all about consent, though. I don't touch anyone's parts unless invited. And even after it became quite clear that Alessia wanted her parts touched, I was still reticent. I didn't want to risk hurting her.
Host: That seems wise. However, judging from your bodies—of work, at some point you became quite comfortable touching one another's parts. When did that occur?
Alessia: Actually, it just kinda happened. We really didn't plan it. I guess we were both ready to move the partnership to a new level. One day, we just started writing a story without ping-ponging the point of view—and one thing led to another. Apparently, we managed to put on quite a show, because we ended up getting paid for it!
Will: I'm of the opinion that those new to collaborative writing shouldn't rush into anything too complicated. Third omniscient requires an intimacy that is almost frightening in its intensity. Not only are you touching one another's parts, but you're doing it under a spotlight. The audience can no longer critique your individual performances. You succeed—or fail—as one. You come together—or not at all. The satisfaction, however, makes it well worth the risk.
Alessia: It was hard—very hard—but I managed to overcome my fears. It's still hard sometimes, but we work around it 'cause we're committed to the outcome.
Will: With care and finesse, you can stroke the hard parts. Alessia's a great stroker.
Host: Okay, so that's style. What about the technical aspects? How do you communicate with one another?
Alessia: For us, given the difference in our daily routines, it's easiest to pass a Word document back and forth via e-mail. I'm most likely to get my groove on first thing in the morning.
Will: Whereas I'm at peak in the evenings. So I milk it at night, then send it off to Alessia. She massages it in the morning, adds her piece, and sends it back. We do it all with the "Track Changes" feature turned on and make extensive use of the "Comments" tool. The comments alone in one of our collaborations would make for a good story.
Alessia: Now, we've heard from other collaborators that they role play their characters in an instant messenger session. We've not tried that...
Will: 'Cause it could get a little sticky.
Host: Sticky, eh? Right.
Alessia: The secret, really—and the toughest part—is to be totally open with your partner. If you hold back, you're not gonna be fully satisfied. For example, if you have a problem telling your partner, "I think you should stroke it this way," then perhaps collaboration is not for you. You'd be better off sticking to the solo action.
Host: Doesn't e-mail slow you down, though, when you're developing your story lines?
Will: Yeah, sometimes. For plotting, the transcript of a chat session can serve as a rough outline. But for the most involved stories, we usually resort to aural.
Alessia: Oral's the best, really. If given my druthers, I'd opt for oral almost every time. The outcome is much improved. Really.
Will: I said aural, not oral, you insatiable little...
Alessia: Oh. Well, aural's good—but oral's better. No doubt about THAT!
Host: You make it sound so easy.
Alessia: I am—I mean, it is—easy once that trust is established. But I don't let just anyone touch my parts, I'll have you know! I'm extremely picky about that. For a collaboration to be most effective, partners need to be on the same page in terms of WHY they're in bed together in the first place. For some, it's just a quick roll in the hay—and there's nothing wrong with that. Others are more emotionally invested and/or goal-oriented.
Will: There can even be multiple reasons—and they can vary from piece to piece. It's just important to be clear about them so that you understand where your partner is coming from. Communication is critical in any successful team endeavor.
Host: What about multiple partners?
Will: Simultaneously? We've certainly talked about it, and it's undoubtedly territory we'll explore in much more depth. We both want it, but it does introduce a whole new set of challenges. I think a cameo might be the best way to test those waters before getting into anything too intricate.
Alessia: I agree. A three-way in third omniscient would be damned difficult, but that's not to say it can't be done and done well. In third limited, though, it'd be much easier. Tag team style, so to speak. Each gives head—I mean, picks a head—and focuses completely on it, attacking only from that perspective.
Will: Now, individually is a different story. I've done it with someone else. Alessia has not. Or if she has, she hasn't told me about it. We're both open to the idea of hooking up with others outside of our partnership. Again, that trust is key.
Alessia: Without a solid foundation, it's easy to see how you might feel threatened by your partner's desire to branch out. I look at it this way: Either I have what it takes to keep my partner coming back for more, or I don't. If I don't, then it's only a matter of time before he (or she) decides to move on. I mean, why invest gobs of time and energy into a partnership that's not meeting your needs? That just results in anger and hurt feelings. It's better for all involved to just let it fade away and move on—either solo or with another partner. No hard feelings.
Host: Well, you've certainly given our audience a lot to think about. Thank you. Any parting words of advice for folks who want to attempt doing it with a partner?
Alessia: Leave your ego at the door and don't be afraid to let it all hang out.
Will: And prepare yourself for a wild ride!