View Full Version : Writing partners

12 December 2004, 06:51 AM
Howdy y'all.

I've been writing plays, short stories, and screenplays for some time now, and I've found that I work best when I have a pretty steady stream of feedback, and someone to bounce ideas off of. Unfortunately, most of my friends/family either don't share much of the same vision that I do, or are unable to offer much helpful advice. To that end, I'd thought about trying to find a writing partner in the past, but never really pursued it.

So, my question: has anyone worked with a writing partner? If so, how was it? Where did you find him/her/it? Would you recommend it?

I've gone to film school, so I've seen that it can work well, but almost every screenwriter I've met back at school either was a lone wolf or rubbed me the wrong way.

12 December 2004, 12:58 PM
Hi Bonedaddy.

I'v studied screenwriting for some time and have worked both alone and in diferent types of collaboration writing.

I find when writing on a script with someone it is usually best to have a lot of creative meetings and talk about your ideas before you start writing. When you've settled on an idea to write or if you come to a stand still on a few different go and sit down alone and write a synopsis of the script and try pitching it to eachother.

It's much easier to get a complete picture of an idea if its on paper then if you just discuss it. Discussion is usually very fragmentic.

I'v foud that i usually work best on my own so that no one censurs me and i dont cencur them or my self. It is not uncommon to pull punches bechause your not entierly sure of your idea or your writing partner.

Go and write by your self and give each other feedback along the way.

If you still want to write together. Both of you in front of the computer, see to it that you know eachother well and understand how the other person thinks. I have a couple of people I can work like this with. It is often hard and you might hate each other from time to time, so you have to be able to handle and to give critique.

I reasently wrote a TV episode with a friend and we just let it all go and wrote everything and then cut a out everything that did not work. This came out well but only bechause we think somewhat alike.

On the other hand i wrote a short with another friend e few month ago and we have very different aproaches to writing. He likes to start with theme and find an idea on that theme. I like to start with an idea and see what theme comes out of it and if i really agree with wahts written, then make changes. I like to write supernatural and fairy tale tones. He likes gritty realism. This is not impossilbe to mix but we ended up fighting for things that felt close to our hearts no matter if it fitted in to the story or not, which led to a crappy script that felt like it had no real direction. Later on we wrote it apart from eachother and got two quite nice stories, though totaly diferent.

So to sum up this rambling of mine: If you want to write with someone closely, se to it taht you know eachother well and that you dont pull any punches or censur your self or your partner. Find an idea that both really want to write and have a common goal for. This is the hardest part in finding a writing partner and takes time and a "trial and error" aproach.

If you can't find common ground, sit on your own for a while and write down a synopsis to present żour idea in a complete fashion so your sure you have not just misunderstood eachother.

Hopes this helps a little.


Nigel B
01 January 2005, 08:42 AM
Hey man,

I have written scripts both solo and as a collaberation, and i think they both have there good and bad points.
1. check your ego at the door.- You come up with a great scene, I mean, Its awesome, You write it...and your partner hates it. "it doesn;t work, how are we going to..." The collaberators points are all valid, but it can be a real kick in the guts when you think you have created something special and the other person doesn't. And that's another point, you both have to feel free to say what you are thinking. If you have to pussy foot around, then the creative process will be stifled. Now there are many different ways of collaberating. SOme people divide the script in half, others both write some, then edit each others work, and I know one writing team who both almost completely write the script independantly, then combine and rewrite. When i have collaberated I like to do it in the same room/space, ie both online at the same time, bouncing ideas around, with someone doing the writing...the old one person paces the room while the other types, but both equally coming up with the story, and working through problems together.

So what is the answer? Personally, i like collaberation. It gives a couple of perspectives, and I don't care who you are, someone else can always come up with a good idea, and it is great to have people to bounce ideas of, it creates an energy that really fires the creative juices.

Good luck with your efforts.


01 January 2005, 09:49 PM
Well in the end i think it's a matter of personal taste.You will have to try both and see what fits you best.

I can tell you about what i am experiencing now with my project.At the beginning i wrote the script for my movie completely alone.I was very happy with it and i thought it was a very good story.I couldn't think of anything better.But after a while a member of my team started to give me his ideas.He started sending me parts of the script changed in a way that i really liked.He had taken what i wrote and made it much better.He had added things that i would never have thought.So now we both find new ideas and try to add them in the script in order to improve it.

I like collaboration too.I never thought it would be so much fun sharing your ideas with other people and trying to find what is best for the story.But as Nigel B said "check your ego at the door".If you can do that i think it will be a very good experience.:)

01 January 2005, 10:33 PM
I write with a partner. I met him in highschool, and over the last decade or so, we've written together off and on. Both of us went separate ways for a while (no hard feelings, just life getting in the way). Now we're back in the same city, and writing like mad. We're very complimentary in our styles. I'm stronger on the creative and thematic details, while he's all about the structure and the exposition. He comes from a strong literary/essay background, while I come from a filmmaking/animation background. Together, we've got the formal and visual aspects covered.

Personally, I love writing opposite someone else. We've both done solo projects, but I find that the results come much quicker than if I were writing on our own. It can take us months individually, but for us to sit down and do a full first draft of a joint project it takes us anywhere from 10-14 days, and usually it's got higher commercial potential. It's almost like doing the first two drafts in one.

When we're writing, we actually sit down together and write. I'm not big on having us do tons of work on our own, then have it torn up by the other partner. I'm simply too busy to have my time wasted. So the face to face approach helps us stay on the same track, and blaze through any issues that arise very quickly. That said, our biggest problem is getting the time to sit down and it. I have a fulltime job as a graphic designer as well as some freelance (CG) work for TV shows, on top of a family business. He has a fulltime job and other things on the go. Without a doubt, the conflicting schedules is the most frustrating aspect of working together. I consider writing my downtime, like relaxing in front of the tube or something, he sees it as work, so when he's done a days work at his job, he's not into working so much... whereas, I'm ready to go after the day job.

I am a workaholic, he is not... that doesn't help.:D I am learning to make room for that fact.

IMHO, writing is about sharing... sharing with the viewing audience, sharing with other writers... so I guess it stands to reason that I enjoy sharing the creative process. In the end, should there be any kudos for a project, I would rather have someone to turn to and say 'Hell ya, we did it!' than 'Yay for me!'

In the end, it boils down to what works for you.

(PS CGTalk, thanks for this forum!)

01 January 2005, 08:42 AM
I usually write alone, but I've written with partners in film, animation, novels, and comic books.

It's really hard to find a partner who not only share your taste, but also is at a similar level in talent and skill. A lesser writer can only function as a feedback person, while a better writer would feel the same about you. Taste is a big factor, because when you find yourselves playing tug-of-war on every plot point, every character development, and every dialogue, then it's really more trouble than it's worth.

IMO, only work with a partner when there's mutual respect and admiration.

01 January 2005, 05:58 AM
Another way to collaborate, which I've actually done, is to get two (or more) writers, and write 10 pages each in sequence, alternating between each writer. You can setup rules if you want (like decide on a writing schedule, basic story/structure, create a character bible, etc.), or completely leave it open.

Having no rules is the riskiest, because the story and direction you might be thinking of when writing your 10 pages may not match the direction the story went after the story gets back to you. It can also be more challenging and rewarding too. It's a pretty interesting way of doing it. In the end, you have a first draft that you can hack, slash and rewrite, and we all know the first draft is the hardest to produce.

Excellent ideas from everyone here too. :thumbsup:

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 06:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.