We'll see what Dustin thinks of this one as I didn't really tell him I was going to write it. Dustin and I have been fortunate that we were very good friends before we started writing together. He was in my wedding. I will be in his wedding next month (send him congrats, there was a time we didn't think he was going to make it to this step) We know what makes each other tick. We know where each other is coming from. And we know how to talk with each other. That doesn't mean we haven't had our share of.... disagreements. That is what writing partners need to understand. There are going to be arguments. On some of them you will be so far apart you will wonder how you are ever going to get the story done together. We've been there, because no matter how much we are alike, we are also vastly different.
Dustin brings his computer animator background to the table and approaches things from a much more "punk rock" vibe. Me? Not so much. I approach stories from a much more analytic and human emotion side of the table. Dustin? Meh. I'll propose a story idea to him and he'll be totally grooving on it. Then suddenly he'll come up with an addition that, to me, is totally out of left field, and I'm like "No". Then I'll counter with another view and he'll be like "uh, uh" (sorry for the valley girl speak, but I'm kind of highlighting the absurdity of some of our conversations). Then a funny thing will happen. We'll ruminate and think about it and suddenly we have a solution neither of us thought of, but is way better than anything either of us could come up with on our own. That is the beauty of the partnership. You have to allow yourself to have those arguments so you can find those common new ideas.
We just got finished writing an updated draft of a revenge thriller with a federal agent at its core. We have gone back and forth many times on the characters internal thoughts. Sometimes the discussions are easy, sometimes we dig in our heels and stick to our guns. It would be easy for me to say something like "raise your hand if you've actually been a federal agent.... Oh, just me? I guess we'll go my way then" (To be honest I probably have done that a couple of times just to tweak him). That would defeat the purpose though. I am not writing this movie for me. I need to think about how the audience will react. If the thoughts are too "in" and will pass by someone I need to know. Better now, while we can fix it, than in front of a test audience.
I'll do another post at a later date of how we actually break down our roles, but the key for today is that we are both better writers because of out partnership. The end result is the winner, and that is the key. Even if the road to that finish line can be a little rocky.