Writing a Book with a Friend: How to Merge Styles Every Step of the Way

In this article, Kim Hooper and Meredith Resnick discuss what their co-writing process looked like and provide practical tips to consider when you're thinking of partnering with another writer to create a nonfiction book.
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Kim and Meredith went from two friends who talked about writing to two writers who created a book together. Co-authoring can be messy and exhausting when creative differences and contrasting styles come into play, but it can also result in a book that's better for having multiple perspectives involved. In the case of writing All the Love, Kim and Meredith have created a book that is part memoir, part therapy session, combining the personal story of Kim Hooper, who endured four losses, with therapeutic insights from Meredith Resnick, a licensed social worker, and contributor Dr. Huong Diep. 

(3 Tips for Writing with a Co-Author)

Our friendship went from two women who talked about writing to two writers who created a book together. All the Love: Healing Your Heart and Finding Meaning After Pregnancy Loss is a testament to the power of patience—with each other and ourselves. Here’s what we learned.

How to Merge Styles Every Step of the Way

How It Started

All the Love grew out of Kim’s four perinatal losses and the conversations we had about grief, mourning, and recovery. Our part memoir/part therapy session approach evolved from our many texts, emails, and phone calls during that five-year period. (Dr. Huong Diep, a board-certified psychologist, joined us later as a contributor.) The book’s proposal came together quickly. There was not a glitch in sight.

Reality Check

Writing the book taught us about ourselves and the other person. Creative difference, as in which direction the book should take or what we should cover, were—thankfully—never the issue. Other creative partnerships may not be as fortunate. Even so, there were some tense moments early on when we each recognized that the other’s style was not like our own. But, like any union, our commitment to it and its purpose remained at the forefront. As a result, we both grew—as writers and partners.

All the Love: Healing Your Heart and Finding Meaning After Pregnancy Loss by Kim Hooper & Meredith Resnick

All the Love: Healing Your Heart and Finding Meaning After Pregnancy Loss by Kim Hooper & Meredith Resnick

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Kim’s Observations

I’ve always defined myself as a fiction writer—I’ve published four novels since 2016, with a fifth coming this June. But when I experienced my losses, I knew I wanted to connect with other people going through this. That meant stretching myself in brand new ways.

I’ve worked as an advertising copywriter since 2003, so I have learned (for better or worse) to approach projects in a very practical, deadline-driven way. For All the Love, this translated to a detailed outline that captured the overall structure of the book. There are so many layers to pregnancy loss, and I wanted specific sections to address each layer—everything from the medical part of pregnancy loss to connecting with your partner to returning to work (and so many more). Once I had the structure, I had the mental space to really reconnect with my own emotional experience and find words for it.

Meredith writes from a very soulful place. She helped me slow down and go deeper. Sometimes a small note from her asking, “Can you say more here?” would lead to an expansion on an entry that was so necessary (and something I never would have realized on my own).

Meredith’s Observations

Kim’s knack for seeing the framework of an entire book is astounding. Her facility with structure never ceased to amaze me and, at times, intimidated me. She has the ability to work in a linear manner, laying down tracks and then considering how to build out the territory. When something needed to be scrapped, she took it in stride. It was not a failure. It did not mean her idea was “bad.”

I do most of my original writing by hand and then transcribe it. And then, as though making a mosaic, I find where the pieces fit. For better or worse, my allegiance is to the shape of the writing process and how my unconscious informs my work, as much as to the finished project, in this case, a book. I also needed to consider the topic through a clinical lens and wanted to make sure I translated that information with compassion, warmth, and clarity.

Writing a Book with a Friend: How to Merge Styles Every Step of the Way

Thinking of partnering?

In much the way you learn more about someone after you move in together, you discover the intricacies of a partner’s writing process after you ink the contract.

Here are our top three suggestions for successful partnerships that honor different creative styles:

  • Maintain an allegiance to the friendship. People first, then projects.
  • Trust that both of you truly want the best for the book.
  • Partners are wonderful teachers. Recognize that what might potentially confuse you about the other person’s style might be an underdeveloped trait you, too, can hone.
Kim Hooper

Kim Hooper

Kim Hooper is the author of five novels—People Who Knew Me (2016), Cherry Blossoms (2018), Tiny (2019), All the Acorns on the Forest Floor (2020), and No Hiding in Boise (2021). She is also the co-author of the nonfiction book All the Love: Healing Your Heart and Finding Meaning After Pregnancy Loss (2021).

Meredith Resnick

Meredith Resnick

Meredith Resnick, LCSW's creative nonfiction has appeared in the Lilith, Washington Post, JAMA, Motherwell, Newsweek, Psychology Today, and others. All the Love: Healing Your Heart and Finding Meaning After Pregnancy Loss is her first book.

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