John-Paul Flintoff




How To Collaborate So Your Project Feels A Bit More Real


Today I mentioned to somebody in The Whizzy Group that I asked friends to help me workshop scenes in my 2016 novel.

It’s not something I think about often, but the idea plainly grabbed him, and he asked me to explain.

Rather than tell him directly, I said I would write this post, to share it with anybody else who might want a nudge to collaborate – to make their own project feel bigger, more “real”.

(It had always been my idea to use the Whizzy Group as a place to excavate ideas, and share them more widely.)

So: the picture below shows me on the first training I did in impro, with Keith Johnstone in (I think) 2012.


(JPF, centre, in lilac shirt) doing impro with others on Keith Johnstone's London course 2012

I’m in the middle, back to camera, with Steve Chapman


Soon after that mind-altering course, I wrote a short blog post, about some of the things I learned – I meant to go into more detail later – and how it inspired the workshopping that followed.

Later, my friend Ben helped document the whole process in this short film:


Additionally, you may be interested to read how I asked improvisers (and others) to lend me their beautiful modern faces for the book’s illustrations.


AND here’s a live video I recorded to say thank you to the individuals who read and commented on my manuscript:


My question for you: what project are you working on that could become so much more exciting and rich if you were to collaborate instead of doing it yourself?


Posted: May 10, 2021

Keywords: keith johnstone, queen anne, whizzy group




John-Paul Flintoff headshot, with Yours Truly written across it John-Paul Flintoff is author of six books, in 16 languages, including How To Change The World and A Modest Book About How To Make An Adequate Speech. He worked for 15 years as writer and associate editor on the Financial Times, the Sunday Times and other papers and magazines.


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