Writing with a partner – writing better in less time
One of the biggest roadblocks to my previous attempts at writing a book has always been the editing process. I would get so tangled up with individual pages and chapters, that I would drown in what if’s and give up in frustration.
Working under constant deadlines at a newspaper taught me something about writing fast – ignore the first draft.
Just write. Get down the skeleton, then come back and flesh it out.
It works amazingly well with news stories, blog posts and fiction.
However, I have recently found something which has helped my writing even more – and by something, I mean someone – and by someone I mean my Collective Inkwell partner, Sean Platt.
We’ve now teamed up to write eight chapters of our novel Available Darkness (which we are serializing here) and those chapters are flying at a breakneck speed I’ve never experienced before. The reason is that I am handing off my first draft of each chapter to Sean. Getting the story out there, in its rawest form, and out of my hands and to another writer is a liberating process which allows me to filter out all my second guesses and self doubts.
Once Sean has a crack at each chapter, he sends it back to me. By this time, I’ve had enough time and distance from the work to look at it more objectively than I normally would. I make some edits and then pitch it back to Sean, who might make a few more of his own edits before sending it to me for the final cut. It’s a process which is working very well for us.
While I realize that not everybody has a writing partner on the same page as them, there’s no reason even a lone writer can’t apply some of the basics of our approach.
- Write quickly, write from the gut.
- Don’t get caught up in flowery language or attempting to find the perfect words in the first draft. Capture the emotion.
- Don’t have it all, write the skeleton. You might write for one paragraph, “next two paragraphs, Joe confronts Cassie” then come back to it when you feel it (or let your partner fill in the blanks)
- Pass it off. If not to someone else, pass it off to another time, perhaps 2-3 days, to give yourself some distance.
- Repeat 2-3 more times max. If it’s a short piece, you may be good to go. If it’s a novel, you can save further re-writes for the later editing stages.
Community Questions: Is your writing process streamlined? Has partnering with another writer helped or hindered the creative process for you?
Like this post? Please consider tweeting it. Thank you!