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View Full Version : How would I? [writing partner blues]



Arcadia Divine
07-15-2011, 05:19 AM
I have no idea where to post this so I thought I'd post it here.

I'm having a bit of an issue with my writing partner. I don't think he cares. He isn't dedicated to his stories. I don't think he's dedicated for a number of reasons, the biggest one is whenever I (mainly) or someone critiques his work he acts like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum and he's 25. How would I get him to stop that? Is there any trick I can use or is this something he has to fix by himself?

Btw, he's also my best friend so I don't want to loose a friend in the process of telling him this.

stormie
07-15-2011, 05:26 AM
He's never going to learn how to write well if he keeps that up. He'll have to find out for himself when he starts submitting and getting rejected. If you don't want to lose him as a friend, that might be the best route. Even telling him the truth won't help. He might be the type that has to learn the hard way.

Susan Littlefield
07-15-2011, 05:26 AM
Arcadia,

You can't get anyone to stop anything. You can only say how you feel about his behavior and then decide how you want to take care of yourself in this situation.

Good luck!

Jamesaritchie
07-15-2011, 04:02 PM
Doesn't sound like a lack of dedication. Many writers, including some bestsellers, are this way, regardless of age.

If they're his stories, let him act as he wishes. It's no skin off your nose.

Fruitbat
07-15-2011, 05:02 PM
It sounds like the two of you are just at different levels. I'd think of a way to break it off on friendly terms. Then move on and work with more professional people.

Phaeal
07-15-2011, 05:49 PM
I like the story Anne Lamott tells about a woman whose alcoholic husband was always passing out on the front lawn. The woman used to drag him inside every morning before the neighbors could see his sorry state. One day an old woman gave her this sage advice: "Baby, let him lay where Jesus flang him."

Unless you're actually co-writing with this guy (in which case his problems are your problems), let him lie wherever readers, or agents, or editors, fling him.

If you are co-writing, well. My advice would be to stop. Co-writing is a tricky proposition with the best of dispositions. When one partner is a prima donna, it can quickly become a nightmare.

AmsterdamAssassin
07-16-2011, 01:25 AM
Anybody unable to accept criticism is unable to grow.

rainsmom
07-16-2011, 05:25 AM
An inability to accept criticism is not unusual. Criticism hurts! Many, many people -- even ones who think they want to be professional writers -- often just want to be told that their writing is excellent. They won't take criticism, and they'll move from critique group to critique group until they find someone who tells them what they want to hear. When they begin submitting, they'll blame the rejection on a lack of vision or ability on the part of the agent or publisher or buying public.

Some of these people *do* overcome this. It can simply be a sign of writing immaturity. I'm going to make a wild bet, though, that he won't gain that maturity from your critiques, because you're his *friend*. A lot of people don't take criticism well from friends. They find it difficult to treat friends objectively or to see them as experts. You might want to recommend that your friend take a class or join a critique group. Or heck, just have him join AW. :-)

Bottom line: You can't change him. He has to do this himself.

Karen Junker
07-16-2011, 05:48 AM
I've had two crit partners who wouldn't take my advice, no matter how nice I was about offering it.

They both sold their first books (the ones I thought needed so much work) and one is now a NY Times bestseller.

If you feel a certain amount of resistance to your help, then stop offering it. It will save your friendship.

Good luck!

Arcadia Divine
07-17-2011, 11:05 AM
Thanks guys. I should have specified that I have this problem with him whenever I co-write with him. If it's his own story than no big deal to me I'll let him find out the hard way.

I also forgot to say that all of our projects have failed so far and it's because of one of two reason.

1. He doesn't do anything on the projects. He uses the "I didn't know I was suppose to be writing" excuse.

2. I end the project because he either doesn't listen or or he doesn't do anything.

Some of that could be a lack of communication.

By the way, I still write with him because the stories we come up with are interesting to me.

DanielAnuchan
07-17-2011, 12:03 PM
1. He doesn't do anything on the projects. He uses the "I didn't know I was suppose to be writing" excuse.


You're co-writing with him, but he's not doing any writing? I think the solution is obvious.

Arcadia Divine
07-17-2011, 03:01 PM
After this latest project I'm going to quit co writing with him.

Filigree
07-17-2011, 10:13 PM
Arcadia, I had this same problem years ago. A co-writer who was my best friend at the time. We came up with some great worldbuilding and plots, until I gradually realized she couldn't finish anything, and her stories devolved into Mary Sues. I'd even been warned about her by some of her previous writing partners, but I defended her because she was my friend. I made the mistake of letting her characters play in my universe. Then I had to scuttle a large part of my original writing when we parted ways. For me, it worked out, since the new material was much stronger.

But I'll be very careful about any co-writing I might do in the future.

Little Ming
07-17-2011, 10:21 PM
This is one of the reasons I never do business with people I care about.

Chris1981
07-17-2011, 10:58 PM
After this latest project I'm going to quit co writing with him.

This is probably for the best. It doesn't sound to me like your co writer is very interested in the projects, especially when it comes time to do the actual work that's involved in writing.

The "didn't know I was supposed to be writing" thing is an excuse, as you stated. If there's a communication problem, he has some responsibility for it. He could easily get in touch with you to ask, "Hey, I'm not doing anything--what needs to happen?" or suggest, "Hey, while you're working on X, maybe I should get started on Y or maybe Z."

You stated that he doesn't do anything. He's not a writing partner if he isn't contributing to the projects.

Susan Littlefield
07-17-2011, 11:22 PM
Thanks guys. I should have specified that I have this problem with him whenever I co-write with him. If it's his own story than no big deal to me I'll let him find out the hard way.

I also forgot to say that all of our projects have failed so far and it's because of one of two reason.

1. He doesn't do anything on the projects. He uses the "I didn't know I was suppose to be writing" excuse.

2. I end the project because he either doesn't listen or or he doesn't do anything.

Some of that could be a lack of communication.

By the way, I still write with him because the stories we come up with are interesting to me.

Arcadia,

In one breath you say that he does not contribute anything to the partnership which leads you to end projects, and in the next you say you still write with him because you come up with interesting stories.

I am confused. ;)

Seriously, if he's not contributing anything, it's not a partnership. It sounds like more of a struggle to me.

If it were me, I would say adios to the "partnership" because resentment would kill the friendship and the partnership both.

Susan Littlefield
07-17-2011, 11:23 PM
After this latest project I'm going to quit co writing with him.

Ah, didn't see this. :)

Hang in there.

tedi.s
07-21-2011, 02:03 AM
Have you tried a to-do list. Make a list of what you want or need him to accomplish and then go over it with him. I know its simplistic but maybe he just needs simple, obvious instructions. If its written down then he can't pretend he didn't know.
I really hope you can get through this project without losing our friend.

Jamesaritchie
07-21-2011, 06:59 PM
Just don't write with him. As for criticism, there's a heck of a lot more bad, stupid, completely wrong criticism out there than there is good, useful criticism.

Sometimes, often, in fact, the writer who blows his stack at criticism is right, and the critiquers are dead wrong.

Taking good advice is fine, but good advice from a writing group is about as common as hen's teeth.

If the critiquer doesn't know how to do it himself, you're a fool if you take anything he says about writing seriously.

bearilou
07-21-2011, 10:49 PM
Thanks guys. I should have specified that I have this problem with him whenever I co-write with him. If it's his own story than no big deal to me I'll let him find out the hard way.

I also forgot to say that all of our projects have failed so far and it's because of one of two reason.

1. He doesn't do anything on the projects. He uses the "I didn't know I was suppose to be writing" excuse.

2. I end the project because he either doesn't listen or or he doesn't do anything.

Some of that could be a lack of communication.

By the way, I still write with him because the stories we come up with are interesting to me.

So...pardon me for asking but...if he's not writing on the projects (or doing 'anything') then...what is he doing that is so critical that he be a part of it?

quicklime
07-21-2011, 11:00 PM
not to be harsh, but I gotta join the side of "why exactly are you writing with him, then?"

near the end of my grad school, my instructor told me I could use our lab tech to run some of my stuff so I could get it done. Corine was incredibly talented, and I respected the hell out of her, but it was MY project, I knew the ins and outs, and I did all the work from the simple addage that however qualified she was, "if you want something done right, do it yourself". Again, Corine was fabulous, but even so. Your guy isn't anywhere CLOSE to that from your description, so why are you working with him, other than not having an ACTUAL albatross to hang around your neck?

quicklime
07-21-2011, 11:03 PM
This is one of the reasons I never do business with people I care about.


A-fucking-men to that. Bringing friends and family into money or career matters is always a risk.

I see you ARE dumping the guy, probably a good move. Personally, and I know i'm biased, I can't see how writing with a partner could be easier than writing on your own, it just seems like "here, I'll steer, you work the gas and the clutch--what could possibly go wrong?"