I’ve started a new project, a collaboration with a writing friend I barely know. It was and is a risk to write with someone else. Especially someone I’m not that familiar with. We may not get along…we may not have the same vision for the work, etc., etc. However, I’m excited by what writing with a partner offers me. A writing partner gives me a built-in person to knock around ideas with, and a built-in accountability measure. If I tell him I will have a chapter by Monday for example, there will be consequences to not fulfilling that promise. It’s much easier to put off work and let my procrastination take over when I’m writing alone.
Besides, no matter how much I tell myself that in writing alone I have all the power and can make all the decisions I’m lying to myself. I’m an organic writer which usually means I have an outline of where I want the story to go, but as I write the characters change, the story changes and I’m constantly surprised by what happens. (I love that, I hate that, I love that.)
I’m happy to report that so far writing with a partner is a great experience. We like each other’s style. We have compatible ideas for the book, and I’m working with a speed and direction on this project that I don’t think I could have achieved alone. Yay! Wish me luck as we move forward.
NB. Today, I’m adding this note as a reminder to me, because I need it and I hope it speaks to someone else.
I love writing, and I always have fun once I start. Stop letting the fear prevent you, procrastination only delays gratification.
Thanks me, I’ll try to take your advice.
I find naming my characters quite intimidating. It feels like such a responsibility to give a character a name. At first I let that intimidation stop me from writing, until I realized that a name is just a name. Search and replace is a great tool for changing them later, and a name doesn’t have to define a character. Our plot and story will do that, and the name will fit in the end whether it is Julia or Moonbeam. But to get over name intimidation consider the following exercise.
Choose a name (baby books are a great place to start). It can be any name, in fact it is better if the name means nothing to you. Now take five minutes to think about the name and let the image of a character come to you. Set a timer (it is important not to plan too long). Now re-set the time for ten minutes and write a story from that character’s childhood. It can be anything, but should use the person’s name in either internal or external dialogue, just so you firmly associate the name with the character. Once you are done write down a list of five characteristics that you think belong to your character now that you know them better. Now set the timer for another five minutes and think of a character with exactly the opposite characteristics. Then re-set for ten minutes and write a story about that character’s childhood, using the same name.
Which character do you like better? Did it have anything to do with the name? Flip through the baby book at random and select another name. Do a search and replace for the name in both of the stories and re-read them. I hope you will find the characters speak to you just as strongly no matter which name you are using. Happy writing.