by Peggy Bechko
I’ve been a writer a lot of years and mostly have gone it alone. You know, that typical, writer sequestered alone in (my case) a lovely office with dog at my feet, plotting and writing away.
But what happens when things change? When the career takes yet another turn (most careers have many of those turns) and life hands this writer a new direction and simultaneously a writing partner?
For starters, with a great writing partner, things pop and sizzle as never before. We end each other’s sentences and marvel at one another’s ideas. Effortless. Satisfying. Fun! It gives us chills!!
And I guess one would call what we do, creating more than simply writing. We created our own project, a new comic series called Planet Of The Eggs We have a website in the works at www.PlanetOfTheEggs.net (don’t judge us yet, it’s in the creation stages) and a site at Facebook at www.facebook.com/PlanetOfTheEggs. We work side-by-side two days a week and separately the rest of the time. It’s a wonder we actually sleep.
So, how did we get to where we are? Everyone is different. There’s no way to explain how to create the perfect partnership. There are those who outline together, then write alone.
Wouldn’t work for my partner Char and myself. We churn out new ideas as we move forward. It’s not like writing a script or a novel. We’re actually creating illustrations of characters and developing backdrops to a scene. If we were writing a script together we’d probably hash out the background and backstory, then I, with the stronger writer background would crank out a scene and we’d review it together. A novel would be similar, write a chapter with ideas and elements in place, then tear it apart together.
But since we’re currently doing a comic book series, we work together assembling the scenes and adding dialog. When the comic draft is complete we separate, read and review independently, then get back together with our notes and revise from there. We look for errors, of course, but also where the story can be cranked up a notch or where it doesn’t make sense, or raise the bar in some fashion.
It works for us. For others I’d say try different methods until you find what feels right. That means have some fun and experiment.
So, what do we do when we disagree? In our case it doesn’t happen a lot. One or the other usually sees the value of the next idea and maybe gives it yet another twist that delights the other. Kinda like living in candyland.
But, really what to do?
Get out the cudgels and beat each other senseless.
Okay, not that. But you are going to run into solid walls on occasion. You might even get furious to your other half. So, be kind. Some ideas just don’t want to go away and might not be the right fit, but those ideas are no doubt highly personal to the half of the writing team that came up with them. It’s simple, but discuss it, be kind and treat that other half the way you want him or her to treat you. Pretty Basic.
At the same time don’t back down if you feel strongly about something. Present your case to your partner. Think like a lawyer. Be objective. If it’s not possible to convince the other guy of your viewpoint verbally, then maybe rewrite the section to show what you mean and how it would come across. Beware though. When the latter is pursued there are times the first partner might come to see the second was right all along.
One word of advice. In reality partners have to trust each other. Writing partners are no different. It’s blind faith in each other’s gut instincts. One may be in control, writing, the other guiding and contributing. But there will be times when one partner or the other feels so strongly about an idea, a concept that there’s no back down in him. Either one may reach that point and it’s okay as long as it’s something which occurs only occasionally.
Respect each other and don’t lose trust. At the same time, hold on to your ideas. When a dilly hits while the partner is talking about an idea he/she has, jot notes, do something, but be kind, trust, and don’t lose your own brilliant idea.
Everything in life is better when experienced with someone else. A good marriage. A good writing partner. Lots of similarities. Hey, when we get a character just right, when we click perfectly, when a turn in the story comes from us almost simultaneously, it’s hard to beat.
If you meet the right person, take a chance, trust, write. Be mindful of the other person’s vision and see how long it takes before you’re bouncing ideas and finding the woohoo! moment that fills the room with excitement. Partnerships don’t always work, but when they do, look out!
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. Grab your copy of Book 2 now! And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page