TV series like Dr. Who and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have episodes written by different authors. The characters and the world is the same, but a different person is in charge of the world for awhile. For instance, Neil Gaiman wrote a Dr. Who episode, The Doctor’s Wife, which aired this time last year.
This doesn’t seem entirely unusual when you think of Franklin W. Dixon of the Hardy Boys series and Carolyn Keene of the Nancy Drew mysteries, both publishing house pen names for the multiple authors writing the middle grade books. But, it’s not collaboration via pen name that’s peaked my interest.
In September 2008, the first 39 Clues book was published, written by Rick Riordan. Three months later the second in the series was published, written by Gordon Korman. And that pattern went on. Every few months, another book in the series was released, written by another author. The authors of the middle grade series were getting credited for their work on the cover.
That’s what was different. Readers weren’t being fooled. And like a blurb on a book, the fans of one author were being enticed into reading the books of the other authors in the series. Granted most, if not all, of the authors were famous and/or award winning. But, still. It was like a big game of One Sentence Story that the readers were in on. And they didn’t have to wait a year in between each turn.
I would love to see this in YA. Not just a single book born out of a collaboration, but a series evolving from the influences of all the authors who touch it.
How. Freaking. Cool.