Friday, July 10, 2009

A Match Made in...Well...Probably Not Heaven...

Over the last year, I've had the incredibly good fortune to be a part of a writing partnership that has proved extremely valuable to my writing - as well as entertaining as all hell.

That would be, of course, with Scarlett. (who, by the way, is almost done with her second book, and it's EPIC...and I really want her to finish it so she can get started on Plus One, which promises to reach even more heights of epic winness)

My loyal blog minions have likely seen her name mentioned here time and time again, and that is not by accident, nor is it gratuitous arselickery. The fact of the matter is that we've managed to forge a friendship and professional relationship that is invaluable for us as writers.

We both frequently get comments and such from people who want such a relationship with someone, as if we're some sort of divinely anointed soulmates of the pervy writing kind. The thing is, we're not. We're just two people with similar goals, similar attitudes, and similar tastes in writing (and men). We're also relentless in kicking each other's asses, brutal in our critiques, and pull absolutely no punches. Neither of us has any patience for excuses or lack of discipline.

So how does one go about finding their own Scarlett? In some ways, our friendship is unique because we're both incredibly strange but highly compatible people...but for just $19.95 plus shipping, you too can have a writing partnership like ours.

The key isn't finding someone who tells you what a wonderful writer you are every five minutes. While it's certainly nice to have your ego stroked once in a while, or even frequently, that's not what makes a writing partner useful. Ego strokery only tells you what you've done right.

It's finding someone who has the cojones to tell you when you suck donkey balls, and having the kind of mutual respect that allows you to take such scorching criticism for what it is: An assessment of your writing, not of you personally. A suggestion to improve, not a condemnation of your writing. A step towards getting better, not a personal insult or a hurtful way of telling you never to pick up a pen again.

Scarlett's unabashed command to "sort it, shithead" when I made a glaring error with Playing With Fire resulted in a much, much better book. It stung, it irritated me, but she was right, she didn't pull her punches, and the story benefitted. I benefitted as a writer. I could have easily curled into a fetal position under my desk and sworn off writing for the rest of my life, but I knew that she wasn't doing it to be cruel. If she said something was wrong, something was wrong...and it was.

Indeed, the key to this kind of relationship/partnership is being able to give and receive brutal, no-holds-barred criticism.

See? No magic. No secret. You both have to have a spine and you both have to have thick skins.

Though there was a little magic involved in my becoming friends with Scarlett, which evolved over the course of 2 years into this partnership.

In 2007, we met on a writing forum, and during a conversation about something or another, she uttered the magic words that ignited our friendship:

I have more pictures of Joaquin Phoenix - give me your e-mail and I'll send them.

That's right.

Before he went batshit crazy, Joaquin brought Scarlett and me together.

And this is the picture that started it all:

Grow a spine, grow a thick skin, and find someone with whom to swap pics of hot celebs. It works. Trust me.


  1. You got it lady!

    *Grabs his manprawn and goes hunting.*

    I'd love a similar relationship with another writer, but for now I'll make do with the diet version - you 'n Scarlett when you get chance to humour me.

    *Menny hugs*


  2. There's nothing diet about us baby. We're TOTES bad for your health.


    Can I just say I LOVE the fact this blog post is full of me-isms. Arselickery, ego-strokery...I truly have infected your brainz.

    But yes. In the past eight or nine months my productivity has exploded. I'm still posting on the writing forum, still emailing people, still going out and about, having a life...and yet when I do sit down to write, I'm writing MORE. Just making better use of my time.

    Which is weird, given how much we talk over MSN.

    If muses existed they would be Lori-shaped, and perverted.

    Also...Wack. *swoon*

    Go toward the light, Wack. Go toward the- well, the bath. And shave that Grizzly Adams crap off your face. And lose a few pounds.

    Then we'll talk.

  3. Also... if we're some sort of divinely anointed soulmates of the pervy writing kind. The thing is, we're not.

    Yes we are!

  4. I have an editing partner - and that's exactly the way we got started, too. :)

  5. *sniff* Nobody ever wants to exchange hot manprawn pics with ME. :'(

  6. That's because you want to exchange "hot" manprawn pics of Teller.

    If you want to swap pics of Jeff Goldblum, drop me a line. I gots me a nice cache of Goldblumprawn...

  7. Teller my arse.

    Jeff Goldblum on the other hand...<3 <3 <3

  8. I send out a "hump day" e-mail every week to a select few friends. The hunks aren't celebrities, but then no one's paying attention to their faces. :-)