Writing with Partners: Challenges

  • In any event, my writing partner and I were at a standstill for a bit.  I wrote my chapter, but she was confused that I seemed to change her character’s personality and develop a new story line from her character’s perspective.  If anything, her character seemed a bit confusing, and I was working through it.

    This indicates some of the challenges in our approach to writing.  Some people have a strict outline, while my approach is more laid back.  That had always been the strategy I took to my own writing.  Even though I might start with an outline, it is very general and leaves room open for new developments.

    But here, we needed a middle ground.  I decided I would edit the old chapter and then we would each write our own chapters, but conferring with the other first about what we were planning to do.  She thinks this can work.  She likes what I have done.

    Chapter 7

    Jake was sitting in his office. He ran his hands through his hair and stroked his jaws where the stubble was coming up. The last few weeks really put him through the ringer. Not only were there lots of fires and so his men were working overtime, but the budgetary matters were stressing him out, causing him to work overtime as well. The town council was going to vote soon on the budget, and he had to be sure his numbers were on point.

    At the same time, the anxiety level at the station was high. Gathering up his papers, he had needed a quiet place to think and work.

    Somehow, he wound up over at the diner. Delia was gracious, he had to admit, and let him sit in the back to work. The food was good, as usual, and she gave him some extras, which he appreciated. After he was done, he left not only money for the food, but an extra trip in thanks.

    Taking a break, he worked on some other projects that went easier on his mind, the scheduling of shifts at the station. He opened up his email and looked through a folder on his desk. Whenever he got a request for scheduling he put everything away until he had the chance to work on it.

    “Nothing too bad,” he thought. There wasn’t a rush of requests for extra time off or for rescheduling. The new policy helped, of requiring annual requests for vacation to be put in early, and of encouraging the members to work among themselves to handle the small glitches.

    He was glad when a call came in from the receptionist. “Jake, a lady here by the name of Delia is on the line. Will you take the call?”

    Jake thought, “I’ll actually do better and go down to see her. Get me out of this chair.”

    Arriving downstairs, he nodded to the receptionist and greeted Delia.

    She took out a flash drive. “Hi, I think you forgot this at the diner.”

    Jake grinned at her. “Well look at that! With all the craziness around here, I didn’t even know I dropped it somewhere. You saved me a trip. So I’m glad you brought it by.”

    Delia nodded. “I thought it was important, you seemed so busy.”

    Jake replied. “Yes, I was. So are we squared away now?”

    Delia smirked. “We could be.”

    Jake just shook his head as he watched her walk away.

    The next morning, the station got an emergency call, the fire alarm at the diner went off. A crew went over, and Jake drove over in one of the station’s vehicles. He usually didn’t do that, but there was a special call, since the original report was for a break-in. So both the police and the fire department were called in, and Jake’s job was investigative.

    Arriving at the diner, Jake saw Gabe Nagin, one of the officers from the police department, who apprised him of what occurred.

    “This is a false alarm thing, we’re guessing some kids got into the place, looking for whatever, did whatever they were doing, some vandalism. They wound up tripping the fire alarm.”

    Jake watched as Delia approached. He saw that she looked worried.

Copyright Barbara James.  All rights reserved.