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Writing with Somebody Else?


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Microfiction Maestro
Feb 10, 2023
Have you ever collaborated with another writer on a story? How'd that work out? If not, would you ever consider doing it? What hang-ups do you think you'd have to get by for it to work?
Staff member
Feb 3, 2023
In 2014-2015, I created The Writing Brothers website with @Scott, and we started to develop a new story called The Uprising Chronicles. It would be about a young-boy named Sammy who was perplexed about his past and who he had once been. His character stood out like a sore-thumb amongst the rest of the townspeople. Imagine him as a pale-skinned, skinny type in black garb and long-black hair (imagine L from Death Note) and you more-or-less have what I had in mind. The other character, I believe his name was Miles, would be a skilled swordsman and reluctant hero dealt with ridding the world of these creatures that roam the land.

I am a little fuzzy on the ins and outs of it, but I know Sammy's character had a special ability of some kind that made him a necessary pairing for Miles.

The idea was to play to both Scott and I's writing strengths. He is more adept at creating a "strong, formidable" character and making it believable, and I am more adept at creating the scrappy underdog that "fails upward".

In the end, it failed. He and I argued a bit about it, and it became clear that each of our writing styles canceled each other out. Both of us wanted to steer the ship, and by doing so, we hit an iceberg and it sank.

His became its own story, I never really did anything with what I'd written.

We tried again at a fantasy story in 2021, and it never came to fruition, both of us released separate books about a similar concept instead.

Also in 2014, however, I came up with a detective and a series of stories called The Adventures of Vulpecula. Long story short, it is about a white fox named Vulpecula who, paired with his friends Lacerta (a lizard) and Apus (an owl), solves mysteries.

Initially written in a way akin to the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, the series becomes darker later on. Way darker, in fact. It becomes comparable, almost, to Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal Lecter (never as graphic though). Basically, the idea was that it would start out as a character solving goofy mysteries (a stolen sword at a museum, etc.) and then, have him take on deeper stories.

In this world, Canes had once reigned supreme (Canes being a name given to dogs in this world), but had fallen out of power, so to speak. Now, dogs are treated poorly, and the story deals a lot with the ramifications of that fact.

To help you understand, I always try to pull out a parallel to real-life world history, but there isn't an exact parallel to the story we've told. Canes are mistreated and are forced into hardships, akin, perhaps, to the treatment of African Americans in the United States. They are profiled and targeted, and oftentimes feel forgotten, but it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison at all.

In this scenario, Canes were once head of the food chain. They mistreated others and then, protestors and activists came (spearheaded by Vulpecula's father) and cut them down. So, it's a payback's a bitch scenario, almost. Whereas, in American history, African Americans never did anything to us or were dominant in America. We brought them here and started treating them badly.

The best "eh" comparison I can make is Germany after World War II.

Canes is used derogatively in this world and is often a catch-all term for all dogs, but it was the name of an organization - akin to the Nazis. After the fall of the Canes, a lot of dogs (in this parallel - Germans) were grouped in as Canes (or Nazis) in spite what part they might have played or not played.

Now, dogs are falling victim to the same hardships that Canes enforced on other animals, and it asks the reader to decide whether it's a "payback's a bitch" scenario or a "two wrong's don't make a right" scenario. Is inflicting the same cruel hardships on someone who has wronged you just? Or should you break the cycle? What about the ones who come after, the children who grow into it, and are then facing the consequences of their ancestors?

Around my fourth episode, Scott told me about an idea he had for a character named Sanec Barker, his would be a crooked dog detective for a police department in Urgway (a city known for its high crime-rate).

The Barker character is manipulative and mean-spirited, but a lot of what he does and why he does it is rooted in the indignance he feels for constantly having to pay for the sins of those who came before him.

When Vulpecula begins moving onto darker crimes, he, too, finds himself in Urgway, where he sees the darker underbelly of Maharris, and all the hardships the dogs are faced with. He starts to feel riddled with guilt that his father and the resistance against The Canes, crippled dog-kind and now treat them horribly. Like Barker, he feels like he has to pay for the sins of his father.