Writers tend to be stronger in either structure or dialog and character, so finding a writing partner who complements your skills can lead to a much better script. Finding a competent writing partner can be as easy as contacting local writing organizations, colleges, or university programs with writing courses or seeking writers online or through industry contacts. When looking for a good writing partner:
- Ask for a writing sample – Read through the writer’s past works to see if his style, ability to write dialog, pacing, dramatic moments, structure, and plot twists are on par with the nature of the story. To get an idea of the writer’s ability, read the first 20 pages of his previously written screenplays and see if the script engages you. If so, keep reading. If not, consider finding another partner.
- Find a partner whose strengths are your weaknesses – If you are good at structure, then find a writer who is good at dialog and characterization. A good writing partner will bring additional talents to the table and balance your skill set.
- Talk with your potential writing partner about the story and make sure she likes the genre, story, and characters before working with her – For example, if you are writing a romantic comedy, look for partners who specialize or have an interest in writing romantic comedies.
- Make sure your partner has the time and commitment to work on the script, especially if it’s being written on spec (for free) – It’s difficult to complete a screenplay if your partner has to drop out in the middle of the project or has obligations that may interfere with his ability to work on the project. Write and sign a contract that outlines the details of your working relationship together. Understand that when working with a writer, you both own 50 percent of the script, so if any problems occur during the relationship, the project may go unproduced.
- Work out the credit she will receive as well as payment terms if the screenplay is sold, optioned, and/or produced – It’s vital to work out the details of your business relationship before beginning work on a script, should any problems arise during or after the writing process.
Ultimately, a compatible partnership is as much about chemistry as it is about artistry – find a person with the same goal as you, who compliments your vision but completes your skill set. A rewarding writing partner can be both inspiring and motivating – both traits will have a positive impact on the script.