When writing a novella collection with three others, all living in various parts of the continent, we face the problem of how to coordinate our stories. Of course, we can send a lot of emails. We could even talk on the phone if we wanted (I’m not a phone kinda gal!) We could chat via Messenger or some other chat medium, but we’re spread across several timezones and two of the gals have small kids.
Yahoo! Groups to the rescue! Here are some of the features we’re using:
Calendar. It doesn’t matter in which ‘year’ our story takes place, so we won’t use any hard and fast dates such as Friday, March 4. However, we have determined that our stories start in June and carry on until August or so. As we plot and/or write, we can make notes of what happened on a certain day in the calendar, especially if it involves weather or group outings that may affect the other authors’ characters.
Files. When it’s time to critique each other’s work or share other files, uploading them to the file section of groups makes a lot of sense. Especially as Yahoo! strips the attachment function of group emails!
Photos. Because our anthology is set somewhere none of us live, we can upload photos from our own library or sideload photos from the internet into folders. This means we can add to each other’s research easily.
Links. Same with links. As I’ve discovered websites that will pertain to the other authors, such as general geocaching info and ‘things to do’ in the geographical area, I can stick the links right there where they can find them when they need them. And they can do the same.
Database and Polls. I haven’t found a use for either of these features yet, at least not in the collaboration scenario. Can you think of something I’m missing?
Extra Apps. These range from address books, birthdate charts, and maps, to recipe and advertising sharing. I downloaded the map app to the group but it doesn’t seem useful as it doesn’t display the map there. It’s more useful to have actual maps linked to in the links section.
The last tip I have is to make sure all the collaborators have administration status. This way, if they can think of a use for the address book app (for example!) they have the clearance to add it.
What about you? Can you think of any other uses for Yahoo! Groups for collaborators? On the flip side, what do you use?
Margaret Fisk says
Make sure you read the TOS VERY carefully, and don’t store your manuscripts up there :).
Also, use the database to track common characters and buildings. It would be poor form to have your character go to the only hardware store in town and it’s on the opposite side from the one that is the main setting of the next person’s story. Also, with common places and the like, you could have your characters cross over with the other stories for the fun of it :). Though maybe place rather than people is better because of writing styles etc. You wouldn’t want to observe something about their characters that isn’t true.
Thanks for those additional tips, Mar!