Episode 52: Working Holiday by Aidan Doyle and Colin Jacobs

Working Holiday cover art

Commander Jack Taylor helped overthrow the evil rulers of the planet Tharronia in the name of Earth. But when word reaches him of the new government’s misdeeds and corruption, he returns there on his own to see if he can’t make things right. Despite the previous two sentences, wacky fun ensues.
Also, Big talks about politics and Rish talks about aliens, and both talk a bit about collaboration in writing.

Special thanks to Josh Roseman, Nicole Suddeth, and Bennett Jackson for lending their voices to this episode.

Right click to download the episode HERE.


Related Links:
Aidan Doyle’s Site
Colin Jacob’s Site
Josh Roseman’s Site


14 Responses to “Episode 52: Working Holiday by Aidan Doyle and Colin Jacobs”

  1. Never had something I wrote brought to life like that before – good job, gave me a guilty chuckle or two.

    The discussion of collaboration here was interesting. I remember it working pretty well – Aidan and I have different styles but we shared the burden of putting pen to paper and reworked it into consistency with a little bit of compromise. The plot outline was the result of a process of some fun conversations. Best of all, writing humor surely has to be one of the scariest activities (outside of parachuting into a warzone or trying to chat up a girl in the grocery aisle), but in a collaboration your partner has veto power over attempts at humor. A little bit of quality control goes a long way.

    Hopefully Aidan agrees, and doesn’t just remember it as a painful process of tactfully editing out my dross.

    And, um, yes, I _think_ the whole piece is a subtle commentary on US foreign policy in the Middle East… something like that.


  2. Nicole Suddeth Says:

    Big lies–I am very very disappointed in you Rish.

  3. I would LOVE to write collaboratively with someone. I think alternating chapters is a good writing exercise that teaches creativity by making you incorporate elements you would have never thought of. But, alas, they have always fizzled out and died when my “partner” becomes too busy, likely because the deeper you get the more work it is to keep things consistent, especially if you have to reread the story every time.

    Still, I’d love to do it with a well planned outline someday.

  4. Wow, I sounded all helium-y.

    On collaboration: I agree with Rish, that the best collaborations are where one person is the plotter/producer and the other is the writer that fills in all the fiddly bits around the edges. I’ve tried to do that with friends before, but to no avail.

    On forums: just drop a forum package like Simplemachines or PHPBB in the /forum directory and be done with it. However, you’ve already built a community of people commenting on the blog; you’d have to kill blog comments to force commenters to the forums, and you’d have to lead them by the hand. Better to stick with what you have. Plus, I don’t think I can handle another forum; I’m already on two.

    However, if you start a Dunesteef Writers Group, forum software would be the way to go.

    On alien-ness: In “Sphere”, by Michael Crichton, Norman (the MC) was tasked to figure out what alien first contact would be like by designing an alien. The general in charge took one look at it and said “where’s the anus”. We can’t relate to aliens.

    On worldbuilding: Every time I try to build a world with nonhumans or a lot of magic, it turns into a novella at the very least. Short fiction almost HAS to stick to certain worldbuilding tropes to succeed without growing so long that no one will publish it. For the most part, as smart as SF/F readers are, we really don’t want to think that hard. Editors are readers too.

    On the story: Pretty funny. The dick jokes made me chuckle.

    On the reading: Jack seemed almost TOO serious for the tone of the rest of the piece.

    *whew* That’s a lot crammed into one comment.

  5. *blush* Aw, I’m not sure I quite have the neurotransmitters worked out. But bone structure, gestation period, and sensory abilities – that I can tell you!

    Collaboration – Back in college, I was never able to make it work, but it’s been a long time since I tried. I don’t think I’ve ever attempted to collaborate with another author who finishes stuff. It does seem like the plot and concept would need to be jointly created, then maybe split up writing of sections or characters, then each person re-works the other person’s sections and adds stuff. I don’t think the alternating chapter thing would work for me; I think it would turn into tug-of-war.

    Forums – you already know what I think. I agree with Josh that you’ve kind of trained people to comment here, but I don’t think you’d need to shut down comments to drive them to the forums. All you’d need is reference to discussions going on in the forums that aren’t happening here (ideas about writing or ghost stories or whatever). Those are the sort of threaded discussions that don’t work that well on a WordPress page. Here people are somewhat limited to discussion of the latest episode. It’s highly episodic, because it’s not all that convenient to go back to long-ago WordPress pages and comment. Those threads are dead. However, in forums, it’s much easier for people to resurrect threads or ideas that interest them. There’s that handy “posts since my last visit” button. Old threads need not die. Forums are just more versatile.

  6. That story cracked me up and was a relief during an insomniac night.

    Also thanks (I think) for the shout-out. I heard it! :-) I suppose I do make positive comments quite a bit. haha. Can’t help it. If I didn’t love the podcast, I wouldn’t be listening!

    And here’s one more: Rish’s reading of The Monkey’s Paw kicked ass. (Hopefully the use of ‘ass’ will give me a slightly rougher edge this time.) What can I say? You guys rock.

  7. I can just see the commercials now: “Critics and listeners agree, The Dunesteef is a perfect cure for insomnia!”

  8. You now, I was thinking about that collaboration thing.
    I think there’s room in my universe for that. Well, okay, by that I mean once NaNoWriMo is over.
    So, if someone there would consider a virtual partnership for a short story in December, I’m a gamer!

  9. This one reminded me of Life of Brian in some ways. Really awesome.

    I completed a first draft of a screenplay collaboratively (I really hope the file is lost forever, so don’t ask when it’s going to be made into a movie XD). It didn’t work as a screenplay because my partner and I weren’t very mature as writers and also because we never really decided between dark comedy and serious indie flick.

    The writing method itself worked out pretty well. We sat down in the same room and went back and forth on each line until we were happy with it. Kind of like what is known as “extreme programming” but with writing instead of code.

    One of the most popular methods is doing the collaboration as a text RPG with no DM (each collaborator taking a different character to make decisions for) and making other decisions with (OOC) comments. I’m really opposed to that method of collaboration, but if it works for you … go for it.

  10. Forgot to mention… Viable Paradise, run by (among others) the Nielsen Haydens, Debra Doyle, and James Macdonald, is a one-week intense writing workshop on Martha’s Vineyard every October. I really want to go this year.

  11. I was really happy with the way the story came out. Enjoyed the voices.

    In terms of collaboration, it was fun working with Colin.

    But in general I think collaboration means twice the work for half the money. It’s not an easy process. Comedy is particularly well suited for collaboration though. (Hence the number of writers on comedy TV shows). It helps to have someone else to help generate jokes and to check how well your own jokes work.

    Clarion South was a great experience for me. But I know not everyone has 6 weeks to spare.

    John Joseph Adams has a great post about the range of sf workshops that are available.

  12. “Comedy is particularly well suited for collaboration though. (Hence the number of writers on comedy TV shows). It helps to have someone else to help generate jokes and to check how well your own jokes work.”

    A comedian of the silent movie era was on his deathbed. “Dying is easy,” he said. “Comedy is hard.”

  13. Bennett Jackson Says:

    I was late listening to this because my computer died, glad I finally got it working again.

    Anyway: collaboration, the few times I’ve tried it, it turned out, well, not horribly, but not that good either. Essentially there were three of us, on a forum, and we’d each build up on each other’s ideas.

    It probably would have helped if we had had a plot to begin with, I suppose. But yeah, I haven’t done well with collaboration, but I see no reason why I should never try it again.

    On forums: I’ve had a lot of experience with forums, and usually, until they reach a certain number of active members, they’re pretty dead. The flip side of that is that once you get above a certain number of active members, they get a little spammy. But with something this size, it’s kind of a toss-up. Either way, people will (probably) still listen.

  14. Loved the story. Currently I’m working with another author trying to co-author a novel. Interesting experience, but difficult. We haven’t sequestered ourselves in a cabin, which may account for our lack of progress. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: