The Joy of Collaboration

Earlier this year, the wonderful Shasta Grant and I decided to collaborate on a short story, and our resulting tale of a Jazzercise franchise in decline, “Grapevine,” was published in Little Fiction in July.

Having been scarred by many group-project situations in school, not to mention being somewhat control-freakish about my own writing I was a little nervous when Shasta proposed collaborating on a story, but the whole process was incredibly fun. I highly recommend collaborating with a trusted peer as a way of letting another perspective shake up your creative work. 

Shasta and I have read and given each other feedback on our stories for years, and though I am a huge fan of her work our writing styles are different enough that I wondered whether we could pull off a story together without “showing the seams,” as it were. Would one writer’s voice dominate? Would it be obvious which parts came from which writer? 

But I had no reason to worry—it felt like a true partnership all the way through the process. The writing itself—often a lonely pursuit—became a conversation between us. It was fun and kind of addictive to send off a new draft and wait to see where Shasta would take the story from there. We were writing for each other, cheering the story into being. The resulting piece became so much more than the sum of our individual contributions.

We were thrilled when Beth Gilstrap at Little Fiction selected “Grapevine” for publication. In addition to the care that their editorial team puts into each submission they select, one of the unique perks of having a story in Little Fiction is that they create trailers for each of the stories they published, which felt very fancy! And I have to say, I loved the trailer that Troy Palmer created for this story. Check it out!