What Makes a Professional Writer?

I met with another writer to begin a collaboration process on a story idea requested by a producer.  The producer gave us two brief scene ideas and a request for a fantasy romantic comedy.  We have to come up with a story.  The two of us were asked to collaborate. 

We met with our stacks of 3×5 cards and notebook and started asking questions.  In roughly two hours we changed the nature of the protagonist, came up with an antagonist, one subplot, the second main character and the theme.  

My partner is going to write a couple of tentative scenes to get the feel of the characters.  I’m going to brainstorm more character and plot developments and, also, to do some background research.  Our next goal is to write a story outline. 

Is this the story either of us would write for ourselves?  No.  But to be a professional you use all the tools and processes of building a story and put them to work on someone else’s idea.  Then you twist and turn the characters and plot to make it something you can work with.  You hone your skills. 

Best of all, you are getting paid to write.  That’s what being a professional is.

Zara Altair

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