How To: Write With a Partner
The first installment of this blog was written by Trilby's writing partner Nancy Tucker. You can find that blog here.
Nancy Tucker’s steps for working with a co-writer are simple: 1. Find a partner. 2. Write.
We became friends and decided that we, too, could write a romance. We came up with a protagonist, the conflict, and a plot. So, off we went into the world of romance and wrote Double Danger, which turned out to more adventure and became romantic suspense.
Nancy and I crafted a world in which a young woman is terrified of firearms, and then we had to come up with a plausible reason why. We built a traumatic experience in her childhood, coupled with an earlier devastating loss. Then we invented a man who carries a gun, and a villain who would stop at nothing to get back what was taken. We made copious notes about scenes, chapters, and characters.
We shopped it around, got a few rejections, and didn’t have a clue what we were doing, so it languished for a long time.
So, you have found a partner in writing. Here are some suggestions from Jason Nugent:
Work together for the world building.
Use Google Drive and shared folders. (When we originally wrote Double Danger, the Internet was in its infancy, and we didn’t have this luxury.)
Put your egos to the side.
You should also:
Have a written contract. Even if you’re writing with your BFF. Templates for co-writer agreements are all over the Internet. Specify who shares what. Especially useful in case you manage to get a big publishing deal or a movie option. It’s happened.
Remember, it’s a collaboration. Trust your partner. That was easy for us. We were friends. We read much of the same things, and we possessed complimentary skills.
Check egos at the door. This bears repeating. Every writer has a favorite thing – a phrase, a plot idea, a description – but we also must let things go. Normally in a critique group with writers of varying levels of competency, we couch our responses carefully. Working with a writing partner is an intimate experience. We see each other’s flaws, both personal and professional. We must be honest with each other. Handle problems when they’re small.
Discuss expectations. When we revised the book, we bypassed traditional publishing because both of us wanted to get it out there and move on. I had the publishing skills, so we published it ourselves.
Outlines do help. Look at Jami Gold’s website. She has valuable writer resources. Try her beat sheets. I used them to plot a paranormal novel idea for NaNoWriMo and following the outline, I made 50K words, and it’s a story with all the elements in place. I’m currently working on polishing it.
Bottom line: if you work with a writing partner you like and respect, and you can be flexible and open to suggestions, you’ll have a positive experience. Just hash out the particulars in advance and have at it!
Trilby Plants wrote her first story when she was ten. It won a blue ribbon at the Montana State Fair. She’s been writing stories ever since. Plants writes children's books and dark fantasy, and surprisingly, is the co-author of Double Danger, a romantic suspense. A proud member of the South Carolina Writers’ Association, Plants lives in Murrells Inlet, SC, where she writes, knits and creates video book trailers for authors.
You can find all of her books and more information at her website.