This weekend I began working on a story with my spouse on a new short story. For those of you worrying about when my next novel is coming out, don't. I didn't take any of my usually writing time to work on the short story. I was just working extra hard (grin). You do believe me, don't you?
Sarah and I teamed up to do one other short story a couple of years ago. Working together tested our egos, but the result was a story we really like. So, here we go again.
I don't know how other people approach writing with a partner, but for us it works best for us when Sarah takes the lead. We pick a story that has two lead characters with different backgrounds. Before we start working we toss around ideas until we hit upon one that both of us would be comfortable with writing. Then we work out plot details and character backgrounds together. After that Sarah, who has a stronger grasp of the mechanics of writing, takes over for a while. When she is ready, I come in and write my character, tweaking hers when necessary. After that, there's a lot of tweaking each other's work until it becomes hard to tell who wrote a particular line.
Does that sound confusing? Sometimes it is confusing. There are also times when we disagree about how something should be written. The key to doing a collaboration successfully is to keep the disagreements from becoming fights. Writing together means leaving your ego at the door. It comes down to remembering that the overall story is more important than the line a writing partner thinks should be cut. We did this successfully once. I think we can do it again.