The Top 10 Unlikely Writer Collaborations We'd Love to See

So, we’ve gone and done something kind of crazy. But, in our personal nerdy estimations, rather awesome.

At our editorial calendar brainstorm last year, a WD editor pitched the idea of doing a top 10 issue, in which everything in the magazine, literally, in one way or another, would be organized by a factor of 10.

On the hunt for a fresh and unconventional way to approach different topics—and an entire issue—we decided to give it a go.

The result was training ourselves to think in terms of 10s, from breaking things down into lists of 10 to choosing quotes with “10” in them to soliciting writers’ best advice in 10 words or fewer to receiving an e-mail confirmation from one of our favorite interview subjects saying, simply, “10 ten yes?” And, ultimately, the result was the Big 10 September issue of WD.

In it, we have 10 experts, from Natalie Goldberg to Donald Maass, arguing for and against 10 “rules” of writing (a la Show, Don’t Tell); 10 bestsellers, from Jodi Picoult to Chuck Palahniuk, offering top 10 lists of their own (see the links below); 10 Ways to Be a Productivity Pro; 10 ways to use frustration, hurt and anger to fuel your writing; 10 Tips for Delivering a Killer Reading; 10-Minute Fixes to 10 Common Plot Problems, and so on.

In further nerd-like confessions, it’s my favorite issue since the 90th anniversary magazine (which I tend to secretly geek out about when anyone says anything resembling the first syllables of “Ferlinghetti”). And the WD team wasn’t exempt from the 10 antics, either—in the InkWell section of the magazine, we threw in an array of our own tongue-in-cheek staff lists. One of them, the Top 10 Unlikely Writer Collaborations We’d Love to See, is below. Want to get into the top 10 mindset and post your own list about the writing life? Drop by our online community to check out other writers’ lists, and to share your own.

And to read online exclusive lists from YA bestseller Ellen Hopkins (Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Bestselling Author) and hilarious memoirist Wade Rouse (Top 10 Ways to Stay True to Yourself in Publishing), click the respective links above.

A writing prompt follows. Here’s to hoping your Wednesday is an excellent one. (I might also note that today is the 28th … 2 +8 = 10. Of 2010. OK, time to get out of the Big 10 mindset now …)

* * *

WD Staff Picks: Top 10 Unlikely Writer? Collaborations ?We’d Love to See

[1] Danielle Steel + Stephen King: ?This would just be scary sexy.

[2] Maeve Binchy + ?Bret Easton Ellis

[3] Dr. Seuss + ?William Golding

[4] Charles Bukowski + Hunter S. Thompson: OK, so they probably wouldn’t get too much actual writing done, ?but still.

[5] Truman Capote + ?Ernest Hemingway

[6] J.R.R. Tolkien + ?J.K. Rowling: All the initials a fantasy ?fan can handle!

[7] Nicholas Sparks + Elmore Leonard

[8] Helen Fielding + ?Dan Brown: ?“Smoked three fags whilst deciphering symbols. Noticed sideways glances from v. sexy librarian. Spanx boxer-briefs must indeed make tweed jacket look slimming. Am irresistible professor of impeccable taste.”

[9] Stephenie Meyer + William Shakespeare

[10] Aldous Huxley + ?Neil Gaiman

* * *

WRITING PROMPT: Opposites Attract/Detract

free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings (next one: Friday—last chance to get a story in!).
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

Imagine, in scene, two unlikely writers meeting up for a drink to discuss a collaboration. Naturally, things don’t go exactly as planned.



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5 thoughts on “The Top 10 Unlikely Writer Collaborations We'd Love to See

  1. Zac

    @Molly: Ha! Indeed.

    @Martha: These are the things we talk about when guzzling tea and coffee at the office. I’m glad you liked it, and looking forward to the story!

    @Mark: Hilarious. Loved the Marlowe kick. As for those brainstorming secrets, but of course–we’re finalizing the calendar now, and then the sneak peaks will be on their way…

  2. Mark James

    Zac, this was great. I couldn’t resist these two. Are you sworn to secrecy about your Mountains of Madness retreat. . . ahhh. . . editorial brainstorming sessions? Or do we get sneak peaks?

    If Shakespeare met with a certain wildly popular writer of teenage vampire fiction, this is how I imagine it would go.

    In New York, in Central Park, on sunny days when dogs catch Frisbees and small fat children chase puppies, there’s a space called Then and Now. To one way of thinking it’s a tavern, on the green, you might say; in an entirely different way it’s a place where only the impossible, the highly improbable, the artfully disastrous can happen. Our story takes us there on a fine day in June.

    “Madame, I do not engage in writing about undead creatures.”

    “You won’t even consider it, Bill?” she asked, frowning sadly.

    “I most certainly will not.”

    “But think about this,” she offered hopefully. “Romeo with fangs, Juliet his willing undead bride, and then the last scene would be them getting married in the tomb.”

    “Do all writers in your time suffer from stunted imaginations or have you been extraordinarily afflicted with dullness?”

    “They’re teenagers, in love,” she said, sighing unhappily. “It’s like a law of nature. One of them should be vampire.”

    “I see.” He sipped his drink, eyeing her the way one might keep close watch on a lunatic during the full moon. “And to what end would Romeo be a vampire?”

    “All the way up to the end,” she said grumpily. “Have a little vision.”

    “What did you say your name was?”

    She glared at him angrily. “Everyone knows who I am.”

    “I’m sure,” he said. “But I’m quite the newcomer in your time. Indulge me. To whom do you sell your work?”

    “Lots of people read my books,” she asserted intensely. “Kids. Doctors. Lawyers. Convicts.”

    He looked her up and down, took another slow sip of his drink, and said, “And you know me from where?”

    “Are you kidding?” she asked emphatically. “I saw Romeo and Juliet on TV.” She saw his blank look. “It’s like theater, except it’s not, and it’s in a little box, and you watch it from far away.”

    “And you want me to agree to put Romeo, with fangs, inside this little box?”

    “Yes,” she ejaculated excitedly. “Exactly. My agent’s got the contract all ready to go. Three books. All you have to do is write the screenplays.”

    “Did you say three?”

    She ticked them off on her fingers. “Romeo Bites, Undead Juliet, and – – ”

    “Enough.” He set his drink down. “Next you’ll tell me I should write you a play about Juliet and howling wolves.”

    “In the last one, ‘Juliet Howls at the Moon’, she falls in love with a werewolf,” she gushed happily. “But Romeo comes between them, and he realizes he has to marry her to save her, so he kidnaps her, and they get married.”

    The man rubbed his eyes. “Do you plan on her consenting at all to anything?”

    “At the last second,” she said thrillingly, “Juliet realizes Romeo’s her one true love, and he bites her, and they’re undead happily ever after.”

    “And you say thousands have bought your books?”

    “Millions,” she snapped haughtily.

    The man gazed out on the sunny day, the green grass, the ducks sailing the pond. “Send me back,” he said. “Your time has a frightening kind of madness that is evidently catching. Perhaps you’ll have better luck with Marlowe. It’s said he makes deals with the devil.”