got writing partner?

My writing partner JB (shameless plug) is AWESOME.

Not only is she an excellent writer of her own merit (see “shameless plug” above), yesterday she proved how invaluable a writing partner can be in the pursuit of, well… writing.

Now most people think ‘writing partners’ are people who are collaborating on a mutual ms. While we have tossed around ideas for this type of traditional collaborative work, we are each currently working on individual projects. I like refer to her as a writing partner because ‘critique partner’ doesn’t even begin to cover her contributions.

Anyhoo… as I’ve mentioned before I just completed the first full draft for Tucker (woo hoo!). During the process I would send each scene to her and she would either email or call or IM and tell me how awesome I was and to keep going (keep moving forward!). As the process moved along, I kept thinking that I’d been hoping for something more substantial, more “this is working, this isn’t” type of stuff. But hey, I was awesome, who I am to argue with such deserved praise?

I am now officially working on the beta draft for Tucker. I sent scene 1 over and got back “it has some problems”. Problems? Whatchu talkin bout, Willis?? So we IM’d, she listed the problems she’d seen, I saw the wisdom in her remarks and I reworked it and sent it back. She sent me another email – “better, but still windy”.

WTF?? Awesome, where art thou??

So I read the very detailed feedback doc wherein she made two lists: keep & toss. She picked out things she especially liked, put them in the keep pile and explained why they worked for her. She did the same treatment for the toss items, but (obviously) listing why they weren’t working for her.

SO AWESOME.

By putting the good up front, it reinforces me codependent need for praise. By telling me why it was good, it will help me keep the standards up as I go along, looking to use strong bits like these to keep the level of writing higher than it should be for a first ms.

Then when I get to the bad & ugly, I a) know I’m awesome and can do this, b) am primed to be open minded knowing she not going to say, “Dude it blows. Don’t quit your day job.” She might mean that, but she’ll give me some solid reasoning behind it.

This morning I had a bit of an epiphany. I’d gotten the “you’re so awesome” treatment on the first draft because the point was to keep moving forward and complete the damn thing. And it was exactly what I needed at the time. She knows me well enough to know that if she’d given me too much feedback I would’ve languished terminally in tightening language that would likely be getting scrapped anyway in rewrites. Make no mistake – I’m rewriting this puppy, not editing. The beta is going to be dramatically different from the DLD. And now is when I need the very kind of detailed feedback I got for scene 1.

No writing partner? Find one. It does a body good.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Boba Vader on September 23, 2008 at 12:49 am

    No, no. It’s kewl. Send it to J and not me. No worries. It’s not like I’m waiting to see how it comes out or anything.

  2. Posted by bbc72 on September 23, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Wommin, u r not chopped liver.

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