Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Brain to Brain, Word to Word

(This post is courtesy of Delora Daye)

I have a critique/writing partner about whom I am crazy. We are both Gemini writers – a turbulent combination. Intense, witty, caustic and whimsical. Hot and cold. Tame and bold. We are so much alike that talking to him often feels like talking to myself. Sometimes we feel like we are inside each other’s head. You will meet him soon because eXtasy Books has just accepted a novella of his.

I’m delighted for him – and for me. So solitary is the writing process that we writers grasp at the nearest kindred spirits who relate to us, empathize with us, and motivate us. I need my partner. I like having him to share this obsession with. I have several trusted readers/proofers, but my critique/writing partner understands precisely the struggle or success I experience in producing a solid piece of work. He and I feed each other’s creative spirit.

Our different strengths complement each other. We can achieve a balance. I am a grammar Nazi who is great with snappy, whip-sharp dialogue. He has a true gift for imagery and description. Sometimes we overdo it on both areas and rely on each other to pull us back to middle ground. Balance. We get a broader vision as a team.

I trust his opinion. Do I still get nervous passing my work to him to review? Hell, yes. I want him to like it most of all. After myself, he is the one I want most to impress. He feels the same way about my opinion. We write for ourselves, then for each other. If the results pass muster with the both of us, it is ready to send to the world.

Brainstorming, writing, proofing, editing and revising is as time consuming as anything I can imagine. My partner and I make ourselves as available to one another as much as possible when it comes to helping on a writing project. It is part of the territory. Whether is simply asking one another for the right word or nitpick proofing the final version of a manuscript, we take each other’s projects seriously and put in whatever time it takes to help the other get it right.

He is immensely talented and has both my awe and respect. As a marketing communications writer and former reporter, I have been writing professionally longer than he has. But he has been writing for years and could be an excellent memoirist if he wanted to be. We have a lucky combination of talent and rapport, the sum of which is mutual respect.

With my partner, I always have someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who will tell me when my work needs a little more refining, and, yes, someone to deliver the necessary devil: constructive criticism. We pull no punches. We’re merciless with one another. Yet we love each other and have a lot of fun. Our creative relationship has made us very, very close through a special bond that even our respective spouses acknowledge. Writing can be very lonely, but the isupport one gets as part of a team in invaluable. My partner and I do hope to collaborate as co-authors on a project, no doubt something erotic. It’s a running joke that because he tends to overuse the word "slick" and I tend to overuse "delicious," we will call ourselves "The Writing Team of Slick and Delicious." Well, not actually, but be prepared. The day will come when our partnership realizes a co-author credit, hopefully with eXtasy Books.

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