How to write a novel with James S.A. Corey

Follow along with the authors of The Expanse as they write a new novel

How to write a novel with James S.A. Corey
Image: Andrew Liptak

I've made no secret that I've really enjoyed James S.A. Corey's The Expanse series. It's a good adventure with a well-realized world, but it's also a project that I feel that I've gotten to understand well, and one where I've understood how the process of writing it worked.

The two parts of James S.A. Corey are Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck: they let me know (and did an AMA on Reddit) of a new project that they're working on: James SA Corey Writes a Novel. It's a look into their collaborative process as they go about working on a new book: backers will get access to their recordings documents, Q&A sessions and watch the entire process unfold.

This is a different project from their next announced trilogy (which will be called The Captives War, something loosely inspired by Frank Herbert and Ursula K. Le Guin): "this project is the two of us writing something else," they write.

"If you have ever wondered what it was like to write a novel, what the nitty-gritty steps looked like, whether your frustrations and confusions were peculiar to you – or if you just wondered what the two of us are like when we’re doing this stuff – this project is your window in.

We’re going to share our work sessions on a new novel from the brainstorming and kicking around new ideas through outlining and drafting to getting feedback from readers and editors.  And along with that, all the written materials – outlines, drafts, revisions, notes on the back of napkins, all the way to the final manuscript."

Since they launched the project back in September, they've been steadily posting updates: most behind the paywall, but here's one glimpse of what they've generated:

Dramatis Personae (in progress) - 003 | James SA Corey Writes a Novel
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They've only got one backing tier: $5/month. They've already gotten a decent amount of interest, with nearly 340 backers following along.

This seems like it has the potential to be a really cool experiment. In the decade or so that I've been writing, there are certainly no shortage of options out there for those aspiring to write a story; workshops, writer's groups, online forums, how-to books, but I don't know that I've ever seen a window into the writing process quite like this. It seems like it might be a useful, warts-and-all look at what goes into writing a book, and hopefully, it'll be a useful exercise for all involved.