Please help me welcome Camille Picott, author of Sulan! She’s here today as part of her Virtual Author Blog Tour to discuss the art of letting go when collaborating with other artists. See her post below, then be sure to enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of Sulan!
Artistic Collaboration & the Art of Letting Go
By Camille Picott
Collaboration, in my own personal experience, can be one of the most challenging things for a writer. There are lots of ways for a writer to collaborate—with an illustrator (for covers and interior pictures), with a movie director (someday!), with another writer, or even with a voice actor for an audio book.
Here’s the tough part about collaboration: no piece of art produced by someone else is going to exactly replicate the way something exists in your own head. The best part about collaboration: many times, the artistic work produced by someone else is better than you ever imagined.
I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with both an illustrator and a voice actor.
My first published book, a middle grade fantasy entitled Raggedy Chan – The Illustrated Edition, contains 40 full-color illustrations. I collaborated with illustrator Joey Manfre. I gave Joey a simple sentence to describe what I wanted from the illustration. Example: Drought Fury attacks Raggedy Chan, or Torch Dragon materializes in front of Ragged Chan. (Click here if you’d like to take a peek at actual illustrations in Raggedy Chan.) The result of this collaboration? The illustrations did not at all resemble what I imagined in my head—they looked a thousand times better than anything I had imagined.
With Sulan, Episode 1: The League, I joined ACX (which is owned by Amazon) and partnered with voice actor Karen Savage to produce my very first audio book. ACX prompts you to give some very basic instructions to a voice actor—age and gender of main character, plus a basic “attitude” of the main character, such as deadpan, sarcastic, anxious, etc. With these basic parameters, the voice actor then puts his or her own spin on the characters in the novel. Once again, even though the character voices did not match the voices in my head (yes, I have voices in my head—way too many of them) they all sounded great. I was quite tickled with the way Karen interpreted Billy. His voice sounds like a cross between a surfer and a drug dealer, which totally fit his personality.
What I learned from both of these experiences is that I had to relinquish a certain amount of control in order for the collaboration to be successful. (I’m a bit of a control freak, so this isn’t very easy for me to do.) If you partner with a professional and give him or her the opportunity to apply their craft, you’re likely to be very pleased with the results.
Many thanks to Camille for stopping by to discuss artistic collaboration, and for offering an ebook copy to give away! Readers, enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win an ebook copy of Sulan for yourself.