Being Clear and Deciding What To Write

The five of us who wrote The Painted Sky all had one thing in common when we started – we were all busy women. While we never dreamt our book would be published, we were not interested in wasting our time. We took the project seriously from the get go. There were remarkably few times when people were late with deadlines or were unable to contribute.

Whether you have five writers, three, or there are just two of you, be clear from the start about your aims and expectations.

Let there be no doubts about-

The end game: Yes you aim to have fun while you write a book, but you do intend to do just that – write a book, a complete book.

The work involved: The plan is to submit and review writing regularly. There will be deadlines that must be met.

Members will also be expected to read out their work and have it critiqued. This can be hard. Too hard for many people. It will be an empowering experience and a humbling one. Some people are just not suited to this.

The commitment required: There will be an authoring agreement to sign; a Code of Conduct will be required.

The one thing that will keep you going: You all must want to at least give yourselves a chance at being published.

The key to working together? Remember you all need to be on the same page if you ever hope to be on the same page.


Choosing a genre should be easy. We suggest you steer clear of the literary, and concentrate on a popular genre – science fiction, romance, women’s fiction, a thriller/murder mystery.

It should be pretty clear almost straight away to you what genres you enjoy and which ones you think you might be able to have a go at. Remember there can be no switching half–way through. The last think you want is for people to start submitting Hemmingwayesque sentences or Virginia Woolf impenetrability for your romance novel. You are after readers. Impenetrability in the wrong hands is not interesting, cleaver or deep. It’s just impenetrable.

And don’t diss your readership. If you pick a genre you despise your readers will know it. There are great books in every genre. Know your genre and how to write for it! Choose it and then pick your touchstone.

The next blog post we discuss having a team with no leader and the dynamic of a group. Meanwhile, download a copy of our e-book here.

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The Painted Sky and The Shifting Light


The three of us wrote two successful  novels with two other collaborators.


Learn more and order our novels here:

The Painted Sky (2015, Penguin Random House)

The Shifting Light (2017, Penguin Random House)

What others are saying

At first we couldn’t believe that The Painted Sky was written by five people - it reads seamlessly, and the characters and storylines are so vividly realised.”

--Beverley Cousins, Fiction Publisher at Random House Australia.

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Our group fiction writing experience taught us many lessons about how to have a harmonious and happy team experience while creating two fabulous novels.















Click here for our detailed step-by-step guide that will take you from original concept to publisher-ready manuscript.

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