All important work done today is done in collaboration. There is some room for technology to be developed by a single person, but not the huge pieces of infrastructure we all need to power the world. We need to work together to make things on the scale of the modern world.

Except most creative work. Of course, the quintessentially American forms of art are still done in teams – comics are almost always done by pairs of people, one for story and one for art, while Jazz is frequently improvised by a small group of ace talents feeding off each others' efforts.

But even in the most commercialized forms – television, for instance – there is an expectation things are a single person's vision when they are at their best (Dan Harmon's Community, the showrunners of Doctor Who, etc). Almost all books have one writer, and if a movie has many writers or directors the studio went through, it's very likely the movie is a train wreck. Why?

Because if only one person actually does work for a movie, you end up with the nightmare films of Neil Breen – a hyperamateurish fever dream as one person, fractal-like, fills all elements of the filmmaking with themselves. The industrial part of movies needs collaboration – but we still demand so much of the creative part is done by a single mind, unless we completely give up on creative vision, like in the modern Fast and Furious movies. For works of exceptional mediocrity, only a committee will do.

But if shared creative vision is possible – and it should be, as we see in comics and jazz – then why are so many fantastic artists so alone in constructing masterpieces? We fret over George RR Martin not developing his masterpiece fast enough, joke about JK Rowling's obsessive continued additions to her previous works (not unlike George Lucas trying desperately to destroy his own masterpieces in later-decades' edits). Is Dan Harmon necessary for shows like Community, or is it a failure of collaboration that he couldn't be replaced?

There are other creative projects, like soap operas, that work this way, but, to be honest, they mostly stink. True art isn't an industrial process, isn't driven by a formula. It can be driven by ideas and design, though, and even if you can't get those ideas out of someone's head (because I do think that is impossible for some things), you can certainly share it. No one is concerned that a Jazz drummer doesn't understand the song, but no one thinks they could develop the whole song individually. So why aren't books the same?

I'm curious if there are any truly solid novels with this split – the obvious first attempt would be, different authors for different viewpoint characters, like John Green and David Levithan's Will Grayson, Will Grayson. But I don't know of any real masterpieces in that format, and considering how rare it is, perhaps the spread of many-viewpoint books that will inevitable try to replicate the success of A Song of Ice and Fire might usher in the possibilities I'm curious about.