There’s no question that, for most of us, most of writing is going to be done alone. Alone, alone, alone. With our thoughts, the voices, and the quiet time it takes to figure out just the write word.
I’ve been catching up on some housework and having me some Joss Whedon time. (Firefly, specifically.) So many great lines and great ideas in this show. And you think, “How the hell do they keep coming up with this stuff?”
I don’t know much, or anything, about television writing but I kind of assume it’s a team effort. And I envy that sometimes. I find I’m often more awesome when I’m kicking ideas around with others. Which is why you’ll often find me kicking around with Kait, Andrew, Claire and anyone else on Team Susan who gives me the least bit of encouragement.
Didn’t used to be that way. I mean, partly because I didn’t have writer friends to talk to. But also because I used to be a lot more protective of ideas. And I’m not talking so much about someone “stealing” an idea. I mean that I guess I used to be concerned that there would only be so many, so I couldn’t just be giving them away. I had to save all the good stuff, not only for my own work, but also I had to put away the best of those for when I was a better writer so I didn’t waste them on when I wasn’t such a good writer. (The other day I pulled up a character sketch kind of piece I wrote for the Talent Chronicles. It was awesome. It was dated October 2007.)
What I learned, hokey as it sounds, is that not only will there always be more ideas, but there will always be even more ideas when they’re shared. Because that’s what helps my brain work, and making those ideas and then giving them away to make room for more exercises that part of my brain to make it even better at coming up with ideas.
There’s no finite number of ways to describe a kiss. It may seem that way when you’re struggling with it, but a kiss… Are any two kisses the same? Any two people coming together, everything that led to that moment and anything this act is going to change going forward, every nuance of feeling these people are trying to communicate in this amazingly human way–
And suddenly you all realize why HEROES ‘TIL CURFEW took me a year and is twice as long as HUSH MONEY.
But I give you this example because it comes up a lot as Miss Kait occasionally gets pissy over the kissy. Helping her out with that is part of what taught me this lesson. No matter how many kisses I’ve helped her write over the years, I’ve always got more. (I feel obliged to tell you that my student has become a master and the first kiss moment she wrote for RED knocked my socks off with no help from me at all!)
So now I’ve got this very Doritos crunch all you want, we’ll make more feeling about giving words and ideas away. And it’s good because I’m pretty much addicted to brainstorming with others.
How about you? Do you play it close to the vest until you have a finished project to show, or do you prefer to make some parts of your work more of a team effort?