Trouble with sibling/writing partner

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  • Trouble with sibling/writing partner

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    Last edited by writinggirl; 03-07-2014, 05:51 PM. Reason: .

  • #2
    Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

    As a pair, the two of you are identical, yet dissimilar. Pursue your goals, come what may.
    "If you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all." — Joseph Campbell

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    • #3
      Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

      Originally posted by TigerFang View Post
      As a pair, the two of you are identical, yet dissimilar. Pursue your goals, come what may.
      Come what may? I worry for my sister; she's had a lot of problems in the past, and I can't bring myself to stomach the idea of moving on into my adulthood without her. That's where the complications lie (especially because I know she feels the same way about writing as I do, deep down)

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      • #4
        Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

        This probably isn't the most appropriate place to ask for advice about this kind of problem with your sister.

        If your sister is truly depressed and/or bipolar, such that she was on medication, then that is a whole different serious issue than her just not being motivated to write with you. She is unable to be as rational about things as you are. Accept that. And, at seventeen, neither of you should be getting that upset about your future careers. The judgement part of both your brains aren't even fully developed yet. She needs to keep getting good professional help. You can only be supportive, and help her to get on an even keel. The two of you should be thinking about college, too. You have your whole lives ahead of you. You will always have each other.

        Just write on your own, and let her be involved when she feels like it. You can't force her. Maybe she's just pretending to want to write in order to please you. Maybe when she's healthier, she will be as motivated as you are. Relax! Have fun! Love your sister for who she is. And make sure she gets the help she needs!!!

        Best of luck!
        "The Hollywood film business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." Hunter S Thompson

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        • #5
          Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

          +1

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          • #6
            Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

            You sound like a smart, caring young lady and writers who start at your age, if they're consistent, have the best shots at succeeding. I wish I had started writing screenplays at 17. Hope you find an internship, become a writer's assistant, it would be a good step for you.

            I think - just like if you were asking a legal question, you'd ask a lawyer - you should talk to a professional regarding this issue, because it's really about so much more than writing. Your situation is a unique one, something I think you and your sister could tackle together with a good mediator.

            I will offer one bit of advice. There's a lot of black following, but for you, I think it's worth the read. It was the beginning of a long line of mistakes I've made, and hopefully I can help you from making the same. On my second screenplay, I had a writing partner, who was a friend and budding director. He came to me and said a studio that he worked for in the past was interested in a certain type of film, and if I wrote it on spec, he would direct and everything would be amazing, I'd be produced, etc. So we pitched it. For me, it was a big deal. My first real pitch. And the studio guy said they had no development money but if I wrote it on spec, he was sure they'd buy it. (FYI Always beware people who are sure of things.)

            The day - literally *the* day - that we were going to send the screenplay, the studio guy we were dealing with got fired. However - just in case my friend's opportunity to direct didn't pan out, he came up with a contingency 3/4 of the way through my first draft. He started to push me toward getting writing credit. We developed the story together, but I wrote the entire first draft. Anyway, he continued to push, and I said, look - if you want credit, you have to actually write. So he did. He did the second draft. Changed about 8 pages total. And remarkably, I let this happen. I was so eager to work, to not burn bridges, I let it happen.

            I learned two things from that scenario. The first, whenever you write with anyone, no matter how close, always have an agreement. And the second, I didn't ever want a partner again, because I know I'll outwork them. I commit, I put the hours in. And I make a lot of sacrifices to do so.

            All that said, I still talk to this guy, but I never talk to him about my projects. I play things close to the chest. He'd love to partner up again, always asks. I will offer him feedback on his stuff, but that's as far as it goes. My point is, there's a tendency for writers to bounce ideas off others close to them, have sounding boards. But considering the situation with your sister, it may be better to play your cards close to your chest. If you plan to go down a separate path, don't use her for feedback, because it will send a certain message you may not want to send.

            For your situation, I truly hope you seek help from someone who deals with family dynamics for a living. I've also looked for advice in message boards before, and it's hard to convey tone and it's so impersonal, it can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and disappointment. All the best to you, and your sister. Good luck.

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            • #7
              Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

              Originally posted by cshel View Post
              This probably isn't the most appropriate place to ask for advice about this kind of problem with your sister.

              If your sister is truly depressed and/or bipolar, such that she was on medication, then that is a whole different serious issue than her just not being motivated to write with you. She is unable to be as rational about things as you are. Accept that. And, at seventeen, neither of you should be getting that upset about your future careers. The judgement part of both your brains aren't even fully developed yet. She needs to keep getting good professional help. You can only be supportive, and help her to get on an even keel. The two of you should be thinking about college, too. You have your whole lives ahead of you. You will always have each other.

              Just write on your own, and let her be involved when she feels like it. You can't force her. Maybe she's just pretending to want to write in order to please you. Maybe when she's healthier, she will be as motivated as you are. Relax! Have fun! Love your sister for who she is. And make sure she gets the help she needs!!!

              Best of luck!
              This whole response is excellent, but the bolded bits most of all. Make sure your sister is getting professional help, and that you keep writing whenever you can. (From one twin to another. )
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              • #8
                Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

                Originally posted by madworld View Post
                You sound like a smart, caring young lady and writers who start at your age, if they're consistent, have the best shots at succeeding. I wish I had started writing screenplays at 17. Hope you find an internship, become a writer's assistant, it would be a good step for you.

                I think - just like if you were asking a legal question, you'd ask a lawyer - you should talk to a professional regarding this issue, because it's really about so much more than writing. Your situation is a unique one, something I think you and your sister could tackle together with a good mediator.

                I will offer one bit of advice. There's a lot of black following, but for you, I think it's worth the read. It was the beginning of a long line of mistakes I've made, and hopefully I can help you from making the same. On my second screenplay, I had a writing partner, who was a friend and budding director. He came to me and said a studio that he worked for in the past was interested in a certain type of film, and if I wrote it on spec, he would direct and everything would be amazing, I'd be produced, etc. So we pitched it. For me, it was a big deal. My first real pitch. And the studio guy said they had no development money but if I wrote it on spec, he was sure they'd buy it. (FYI Always beware people who are sure of things.)

                The day - literally *the* day - that we were going to send the screenplay, the studio guy we were dealing with got fired. However - just in case my friend's opportunity to direct didn't pan out, he came up with a contingency 3/4 of the way through my first draft. He started to push me toward getting writing credit. We developed the story together, but I wrote the entire first draft. Anyway, he continued to push, and I said, look - if you want credit, you have to actually write. So he did. He did the second draft. Changed about 8 pages total. And remarkably, I let this happen. I was so eager to work, to not burn bridges, I let it happen.

                I learned two things from that scenario. The first, whenever you write with anyone, no matter how close, always have an agreement. And the second, I didn't ever want a partner again, because I know I'll outwork them. I commit, I put the hours in. And I make a lot of sacrifices to do so.

                All that said, I still talk to this guy, but I never talk to him about my projects. I play things close to the chest. He'd love to partner up again, always asks. I will offer him feedback on his stuff, but that's as far as it goes. My point is, there's a tendency for writers to bounce ideas off others close to them, have sounding boards. But considering the situation with your sister, it may be better to play your cards close to your chest. If you plan to go down a separate path, don't use her for feedback, because it will send a certain message you may not want to send.

                For your situation, I truly hope you seek help from someone who deals with family dynamics for a living. I've also looked for advice in message boards before, and it's hard to convey tone and it's so impersonal, it can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and disappointment. All the best to you, and your sister. Good luck.
                Thank you for such a detailed, thoughtful response. Horror stories like the one you've just shared are fascinating, and truly insightful. I never thought that I would be the one in that position though, since my sister and I are just so incredibly close. I never thought proffessional problems could occur in a family-based partnership

                Thanks again for sharing that little story, and thanks again for your thoughts. To be honest, the thought of going cold turkey and not talking to her about our writing at all (something I've felt tempted to do many times when I'm mad at her) is a tough thing to swallow, but something I may have to start preparing for

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                • #9
                  Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

                  Just write on your own, and let her be involved when she feels like it. You can't force her. Maybe she's just pretending to want to write in order to please you. Maybe when she's healthier, she will be as motivated as you are. Relax! Have fun! Love your sister for who she is. And make sure she gets the help she needs!!!

                  Best of luck!
                  Thanks for the advice I don't think it's likely that she's just pretending to want to be a writer. Although, maybe she does feel a bit pressured to say yes at the current time. I love her with all my heart, and I'll try to continue to do so. Only time will tell where her motivation lies though; if she gets all sad and weepy that I don't want to stick around and wait for her to get motivated... Well, I guess I'll just have to cross that bridge when I get there

                  Thanks again!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

                    . (From one twin to another. )
                    What a coincidence

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                    • #11
                      Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

                      You've already received great advice, Liv. I'd just add one more bit. Maybe you can see a counselor on your own to discuss how you're feeling about all this. Dealing with a loved one's depression requires some coping skills.
                      Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

                        I think there's a lot of good advice here.

                        Fundamentally you're conflating two different issues:

                        The first is her mental health area. This is an area where you want to support her, be there for her, and help her. However, ultimately her success in this area is not up to you. You can do everything you can to be a good sister but fundamentally her mental health is not up to you. It's up to her and her doctors. Never stop being a good sister, but understand the limits of any sibling or parent or friend to help somebody who's got serious mental health issues.

                        The second is her suitability as a writing partner. And here's the reality: she's not suitable as a writing partner until SHE (not you, her!) gets control of her mental health situation. She's just not, and nothing you can do will change this.

                        At such time as she gets her mental health issues under control, you can make a decision about being her writing partner as well. Until that time, you can be a fan of her writing, you can support her as a writer, you can encourage her ... but don't make her your partner. You need to follow your path as a writer. Different work habits is a big reason why writer partnerships fail - probably the biggest. You need to be free to write when you want to write, and not be at the beck and call of her (in)ability to control her moods.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

                          A lot of people want to be writers, but only some of them like to write. Others wish they had written but don't actually want to do the writing part of being a writer.

                          Maybe you and your sister want to have your own writing group instead of a writing partnership. You don't pressure her to write more than she wants to. You ask for her feedback about what you have written (but the writer always decides which advice to take or not take) and you do the same for her if and when she writes something. You two probably won't always live in the same house, so it's not bad to be a support for each other without being partners in the exact same enterprise when your motivation level is not the same. Your writing might inspire her to write something different on her own, or it might not, but she will know that you will be there for her either way.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner

                            Sounds like you two are dealing with a whole lot of issues, all at the same time, and one of the big ones is anxiety.

                            Just take one moment at a time, and of course, if your twin needs professional help, make sure she finds good medical help.

                            Being so close to someone is wonderful. And challenging. Reassure her that you will always be close to her, that you are there for her, and for you.

                            The writing group idea sounds great!

                            I would go ahead and just write! She can join in when she wants. Make it not a "should" but a "hey, join in when you feel like it" type of thing.

                            My sister (not my twin) and I are thinking of writing something together. That project I am not worrying about the legalities of, since, if it flies, of course I would be sharing credit with her.

                            Good luck! Enjoy this part of your life! Your enjoyment might actually help your twin feel better as well.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Trouble with sibling/writing partner


                              I would go ahead and just write! She can join in when she wants. Make it not a "should" but a "hey, join in when you feel like it" type of thing.

                              My sister (not my twin) and I are thinking of writing something together. That project I am not worrying about the legalities of, since, if it flies, of course I would be sharing credit with her.
                              That sounds like a good idea

                              And good luck with writing something with your sister! I hope things work out for you two (and I hope I'll find myself in your position one of these days)

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