Compared to non-fiction.  Co-authorships leverage specialization.  Certainly there are heterogeneous strengths in fiction writing and this should create gains from collaboration.  But we don’t see it.  I can’t think of any great work of fiction that was co-authored.  There must be a good reason.

  1. Writing style is crucial in fiction.  Multiple voices would make the work feel disjointed.  They could try to collaborate on the writing process and together create one voice but maybe this puts too much of a drag on the creative process.
  2. Still, there are some who are good at imagining plots and characters and others who excel at the stage of actually writing once the idea has been conceived.  Why don’t we see this kind of partnership?
  3. I bet there are great partnerships like this but we never know it because the partners agree to a single nom de plume.

My bottom line is that, ironically, the attraction of great fiction is a connection with the author.  When we read beautiful prose or get turned on by an ingenious plot twist, we think of the author and we enjoy being close to the mind that created it.  Multiple authors would confuse and dillute this feeling.

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