Should I Work Alone or with a Collaborator

I recommend partners whenever possible. Despite the added difficulty of scheduling, teams of two or three writers spark each other, test and refine each other's ideas.

Finding someone in your own city is worth the effort. Together you should shut yourselves off from everything else during creative sessions— no telephone calls, no family chores, no long breaks, not even for lunch. Work for a solid morning, a solid afternoon, or a solid evening. Start with brainstorming. Write down as many ideas as the two of you can think of, then start to zero in on those you both agree have merit.

Eric Idle, of the Monty Python group, once wrote, "Getting six guys to agree on what's funny is easy. We read it aloud. If we laugh, it's in; if we don't, it's out. If four guys think something's funny and two guys think it's not, we solve that very simply: we take the two guys out and kill 'em."

"I love working with other writers," wrote Phil Lasker. "I have learned to appreciate surrounding myself with talent. Others may have better lines than you or better story points. You have to listen to those you respect, and it's also fun to notice that the great writers are listening to you."

Often a student will point out that the most famous comedies were written by one man—Charlie Chaplin or Neil Simon. The classic answer is "When you're Chaplin or Simon, we'll let you do it alone, too!"

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