Last Friday I went over to my friend Lori’s house for a “writing day.” Actually, we watched a few episodes of Stan Williams’s Storycraft series and then attempted to apply the concepts to our current WIPs. (A WIP is a Work In Progress, for you non-writers.) I’ve done this kind of work on my own, but doing it with another person turned out so much better!
We worked a little, then discussed what we’d done. (Rinse and repeat.) Talking through our stories and how to distill them down to the main idea was so helpful. In fact, allowing each other into the process let us see things in our stories we hadn’t quite realized on our own. While we didn’t end up with pages and pages of words written, we did end up with quality words and ideas to carry us into the work, making it more focused, making the overall story stronger.
The truth is, most of us can’t see the flaws–or the strengths–in our own stories any more than we can in our own lives. As writers, we need people who know our stories to help us see both the good and the bad, the strong and the weak. Likewise, as people, we need friends who know us intimately and can both encourage and admonish us. I am one of those people who truly enjoys working alone. And yet the fruit of my day with Lori reminded me that very often two heads examining a subject–be it the plot of novel or anything else–can truly be better than one.