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Find the Music in Your Writing 

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Sometimes, the words just won’t come.

It’s a nightmare. It’s an inconvenience. It’s a blank.

What if you could assign someone else to help you with your writer’s block? Instead of staring desperately at your piece, stewing until all your ideas feel like alphabet soup, you could hand your story to another writer and let them work it out for you.

In music, it happens all the time. Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, Jagger and Richards – sometimes it takes two to reach greatness. If a collaboration can give us “Satisfaction,” why can’t it give us the next great novel?

In April 2013, music producer Chris Helm took the collaborative process used by songwriters and applied it to traditional prose. His team created Inkvite, a mobile app built on the three principles used by the songwriting teams Helm worked with: collaborate, chat, and create. With Inkvite, writers can search the world for up to three partners that share their vision and work toward joint and solo publications.

Now, with Inkvite’s popularity soaring in Europe and America, Helm speaks to Mash Stories on how working with a partner can take a stalled piece to a finished story.

Chris-Helm

Chris Helm,
Founder of Inkvite

Chris Helm: The studio songwriting process is dynamic, natural and inspired. The process of creative people working together is magical. I wanted to take that magic and translate it into fiction writing.

Diana: Collaboration works beautifully for musicians, but what’s the benefit for prose writers?

Chris: I see each collaborative short story as a pop song. It takes only a couple of minutes to read and leaves the reader feeling energized!

Diana: There’s a bit of a negative stigma surrounding collaboration in the literary world. Do you think that’s fair?

Chris: Collaboration doesn’t always work, but the process of collaboration in music has been widely perceived as the best way for writers and musicians to create content.

Collaboration is about talking, working things over within a team where everyone is in agreement on the next steps forward.

Collaboration helps people overcome their writer’s block. The best work comes from people on the same wavelength as you. When that happens it is an amazing thing. Because a seamless collaboration can define its own voice which is a greater sum of its parts. We have some writers that purely collaborate together as they create their own unique narrative voices.

Diana: How does Inkvite capture the spirit of songwriter collaborations?

Chris: Inkvite is a warm, friendly community which was born with collaboration at its core. We want the writers to feel empowered. It’s creative people meeting in a “writing room” and working together to create the strongest content. It is a great tool for when you only have a short amount of time.

Diana: Do you need the bones of a story, or can you actually develop an idea?

Chris: You can have up to 3 other writers working on a short story. And you can test your idea. Users offer good feedback and help each other when needed. Also, our trending feature will show if your short story picks up. That is one feature our users love about the app.

Diana: What qualities should writers look for in a partner?

Chris: I think genre preference is key. If you find someone who shares the same love for a genre as you then the passion kicks in, and you start swapping ideas and finding your collective voice with the topic.

Diana: If the collaborative process leads to a larger project, how do you determine ownership of ideas?

Chris: We have simple splits. Ownership is split on a pro-rated share of who has contributed to the story in each turn. The aim is that the collaboration will inspire you to start your own solo story.

Diana: Have you found a collaborator yourself?

Chris: I use Inkvite all the time! I’ve written over 300 stories with people and the results are unique every time. A handful have really inspired my creativity, and we remain friends over the app.

So far Helm and his company have seen over 60,000 stories published. They are currently launching a revamped Inkvite 3.0 to help their writers continue collaborating globally. Don’t forget to check out the app!


inkvite

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Diana Beechener has a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied literary analysis and film history. A proud member of the Washington Area Film Critics Association, she is a journalist and film reviewer for Bay Weekly. She is also a PR blogger and consultant, helping businesses improve their written communications and social media relationships. Contact Diana on LinkedIn.