Writing Partners

Over the years I have frequently worked with a writing partner. The reason is that I found the brain storming aspect created a far better story than I could do by myself. Two minds can be better than one. I suspect it had to do with the conversation and being able to bounce ideas off someone else. It’s tough to get it to work so I have developed a document of rules to help get the process working


1 – It all starts with the basic premise that both parties have veto rights. Either partner can veto any idea for any reason. Even going with I don’t like that idea. But when you veto an idea you have to come up with a better idea. If you don’t have a better idea then the original idea stands. The only problem is when one writer doesn’t have enough good ideas to actually come up with better ideas so then bad ideas end up staying.

2 – both partners white the same scene. Then you merge the best aspects of both scenes.

3 – you need to work in a structured format. The format requires a series of steps to be followed sequentially.

a – concept – both partners must feel passion for it. This starts with a title and log line and then a great ending and beginning and middle

b – ending – you must agree on this so together you can come up with a road map on how to get there. if you dont agree on the ending you end up driving different directions. one east and the other west.

c – main plot points. I used to focus on the midpoint but these days I look to the mini movie method. what is the inciting incident. followed by reluctance, what is the journey to the midpoint. Then how do we get to the conclusion.

d – beat sheet. lets be honest every movie follows the same basic beats. even low budget, oscar winners and huge mega hollywood event films. I like the 20 beat version that adds a few key beats to the conclusion. 20 beats gets you half way to your 40 scene count.

e – one page summary – this is where i do a ton of rewrites. This gets both parties on the same page when you can envision the entire story from beginning to end. If you cant do it in under 500 words you havent looked in the mini movies or the beat sheet. Keep rewriting or if your stuck visit the heros journey.

f – character bios – I would do this for every character even one scene characters. And go as detailed as possible especially for the main character protagonists and villians

g – scene outlines – usually I go with 40 scenes

h – rewrites – now that you have drilled down to all the scenes I go back and revisit the beat sheet – logline – 8 mini movies and one pager. then I rewrite the scene outline. This time each scene gets one long paragraph and three parts. beginning middle end.

i – lengthen the scene outline this should turn into your treatment. usually I like this to be 8 pages single space

j – get coverage on the outline. and do some rewrites

When we start writing the actual script. It takes me one hour per five .pages. I like to get a few scenes done per session

last step with a finished script is proof read. get coverage. then rewrite