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December 30, 2006

Co-Writing

Last night my writing partner and I had our first co-writing session. It was an interesting experience that lasted several hours. We had decided that we would try to salvage a short story from something she had already started writing years ago. It would be a good challenge and we wouldn't have to start from scratch. But now after that exercise I'm feeling like it would almost be better to do the work of plot creation and character definition up front before writing a single word in the story. The story line is like a map that keeps us on the road and tells of if something, no matter how interesting it is, needs to be in the story.
So we read the portion of the story she had written and decided that this was one scene in a whole novel and we had to first define a beginning, middle, climax and end to the story. In this scene she was driving in a car. We had to decide why she was in the car and what the car represented, since we were going to make the drive the whole story. Then there would be an epiphany, the light would go on as she resolved her internal conflicts as well as external ones. The ending was the arrival at her destination, changed for the better.
Here are my thoughts now on co-writing:
There is a lot of insecurity in writing our thoughts and feelings. We saw that and had a few words, but we worked it out, and found ways around it. We realized that we were there to help each other not tear each other down, or criticize.
When we did start writing, she did the writing and I reviewed. We read aloud parts to each other and offered suggestions. She made the changes while I paced. Finding roles is good I think, but we realized right away that the roles can change, and should. This morning when I got up, I could think of nothing but finishing that story. We did not have an ending for the story. I had to sit down and write. She was skeptical, and looking over my shoulder made some hints that what she saw was not what she was thinking. But when I was done, she sat down and read the whole story again and liked the ending.
There will be compromise. There will be insecurities. There will be the building, earning of trust. I think this partnership will get better with time and practice.

What's next: This story is written. We need a title, tweek it, edit it, reread it, have someone else check it, then finish it and send it off to the writing contest by May 1st. We are planning on finishing it next weekend. Then we will start on the next writing adventure.

Posted by carl1236 at December 30, 2006 10:53 AM | Writing

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