1. NateSean

    NateSean Active Member

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    It's Okay To Say No

    Discussion in 'Collaboration' started by NateSean, Sep 2, 2017.

    I love my brother. But historically, he has never been reliable when it comes to creative projects.

    He's a brilliant artist but he doesn't think twice about abandoning his half of the work and expecting me to be okay with it.

    I'm sure we all have friends and family who want to "collaborate" with us. Some of us are afraid to say no even when we think it's a bad idea to say yes. Some of us suffer for our craft.

    But think on this. Is it worth doing 99 percent of the work for 50 percent or less of the credit? Do you value your work? Then stand your ground.

    My brother wanted to work on a web comic. Comedy. Like Futurama, Family Guy, and Rick and Morty. I told him that I have some stories that can be funny at times but that I don't have it in me to write a joke per script. And besides, the Internet is saturated with those comics. I very much doubt I can write something that I could reach Megatokyo and Sluggy Freelance levels of success.

    This isn't being negative. It's knowing my limits and being happy with what I can do. It would be one thing if my brother had some money to pay me for my work but at the moment, working on a collaborative effort wouldn't be possible.

    It's okay to say no.
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Wrting is never clean. :) Contributor

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    I have never come across anyone I would like to collab with.
    Nor has there been any who wish to collab with me.

    Your reasoning seems sound enough, and yes I agree with
    what you are saying. Nice little bit of advice. :)
     
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  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I've always said no to collaboration requests. I know it would be a disaster - I'm too controlling for it to work, even if the other person was so laid back they were horizontal.

    I struggle more saying no to critique/beta requests, but I'm getting better at that.
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Bing Bang Boom

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    Yeah, I'm with you on that. I can't even imagine what a collaboration would look like. And how the hell do you get the styles and word usage to match? This crap is hard enough with one brain to keep straight.
     
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  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I suppose you could do like Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees and write a character each and alternate chapters (and have huge puff piece about how you too fell in love during the writing)
     
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  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Bing Bang Boom

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    Or I could punch myself in the nuts until I pee blood.
     
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  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    that would also be an option
     
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Wrting is never clean. :) Contributor

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    Well the kidneys taking a fair amount of battery would cause you to pee blood. Cumming it would not be much better. :p
     
  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Bing Bang Boom

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    (Stops punching)

    Kidneys? Now you tell me.
     
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  10. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Well, I guess I am in the exception! I am in the process of writing a collaborative anthology of autobiographies (two done posthumously) from 11 of the 15 people who came back to my aviation community of TACAMO when all the conventional wisdom was to go to another type of flying, usually Anti-submarine patrol flying P-3 Orions. I got about 11 inputs, working on two more. Fortunately, most of the others are not writers, so I have a fairly free hand in editing. On the other hand, since most of the others are not writers, there is a LOT of editing! Up to about 260 pages, 65,000 words, with lots of pictures promised. Going to see the retired admiral tomorrow who gave the community its unusual name "Take Charge and Move Out," as a lieutenant being tasked to set something up to solve a particular problem in 1962. 30 years later, he spoke as a VADM at the commissioning of the TACAMO wing in Tinker AFB (yes it IS Navy squadrons, homeported in Oklahoma), TACAMO having successfully solved that and many other problems.
     
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  11. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    It's been more like herding cats than a kick in the nuts!
     
  12. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Contributor Contributor

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    I think collaboration is not a good idea for literary works in general. There's other kind of works where it can work great, and some where I think it's the best approach.

    A web comic specifically is one of the kinds of project that can benefit from being a collaboration but even then it needs either very very clear demarcation of duties (so one writes, one draws and that's it) or a very clear shared vision both are passionate about. In the former you can just be professional and not cross the streams and trust each other to do the parts you know best. In the latter then you both need to be committed enough to stay with the project even if you fight about the best way to approach it. And actually, as a test bed for how a collaboration might go, then a web comic is probably a good place to start to see how you work together. Say a four strip run of a web comic isn't a massive project and at least you can see how you fit together doing something like that without putting in huge amounts of time. You can look at your creative process in practice and see if it's amenable to working on a larger project.

    I strongly feel that anything relating to comedy is better done collaboratively. Many stand ups work with other people to do their solo material even, and with good reason. You need a mix of different view points to make things really funny, because it's the dissonance of expectations that's at the core of what makes a joke work. So you can't just be a wacky, out there, 'crazy' guy and write good comedy, you need someone reigning you in and giving you things to push against and that tension creates good comedy.

    But writing a book I think is something that needs to be done alone. I know some people have been very successful collaborating, but I don't think anyone would be well advised to try. The thing about a book is that it's slow burning and needs consistency throughout it. A characters journey is spread across a hundred thousand words and every page is one tiny little step. You need to be very much in tune with where characters are and that's very hard to do if you're letting someone else meddle with your writing. Notice I said writing though. I think it's ok to collaborate to develop an idea or a world (as indeed many of us do here). It's good to get some new perspectives and thoughts when you are coming up with concepts. But I think you need to write it yourself and make it your book. I don't think that creative tension is useful in a book either, it's a lot of work and a lot of time spent writing it and you need to be clear in what you are doing and stick with that. Having someone trying to convince you to change mid stream isn't helpful. Sure, your book might not always be amazing and wonderful, but it's yours and you'll get better and turning to someone else just means you aren't exercising your creative chops.

    I too have done (and will continue to) turn down collaboration. I don't have the temperament for it (apologies to anyone I haven't gotten back to by the way) and I don't have the organisation. If I was being paid I might work on a bigger project, and I would like to write the story for a game for example, but even then I want the story to be my baby. I can work well on a team, but not in a duo. I tend to just roll over whoever I'm working with; the guy with the big personality and the far out there ideas that I really believe in. That would be bad for me as a comic but as a writer I think that's good, it makes my books very me and while I am still awaiting my dump truck full of money to arrive (fyi, it turns out you can swim in dollar bills, but not in coins like Scrooge McDuck, always request your dump truck in notes my dudes, stay safe when money-swimming) at least my books are mine and will remain distinct and weird and interesting even as I edge towards relevance.
     
  13. Trish

    Trish Lost.. got any breadcrumbs I can follow? Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with pretty much everyone else. While I do find the idea intriguing, I'm really protective/possessive of my own work, and would probably just make whoever I was working with do it my way anyway. I think it would be too hard for me to find someone I could work with, someone who could make me believe in the way they wanted it to be enough for me to even consider a compromise. The only way I could see it working would be if we each had our own character and it alternated like @big soft moose said (minus the puff piece about falling in love, cause... no). But I really like being the puppet master of all my characters so they would have to be a really special person, and, quite frankly, I don't think that person exists.
     
  14. isaac223

    isaac223 Active Member

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    Is that how love works?
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    smart money says they were a couple before they started writing - hence the term 'puff piece' for the "we fell in love writing a love story sticht"
     
  16. isaac223

    isaac223 Active Member

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    Drat. The girl I like writes too so I thought us collaborating on something would be the perfect way to win her heart.
     
  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    best way to fall out and never speak again i'd have said
     
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  18. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributor Contributor

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    I've collaborated most of my professional life. The theatre is one inharmonious, often tempestuous gathering of creative talent. It's fractured, infuriating, and seems to be at odds with the romantic notion we have of the creative process. But when it comes together, there is no better feeling than being part of something that both exceeds your expectations, and your talent.
    I'm writing a story with a woman who was born and raised in a tiny village in Serbia. We are not very much alike. I'm crude and obnoxious, she is quiet and thoughtful. It's a good mix. We hang our egos at the door, and let the story be our master.
    To write alone, to think that your ideas are best and that no one dare encroach on your precious creation is just plain arrogance. I think it's more out of fear and the unknown that have y'all working in solitude.
     
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  19. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Nah, I'm just a control freak who doesn't trust anyone else to keep up with their share of the work. I'm not saying collaborations can't be successful, but it wouldn't be a fit for my personality and creative process.
     
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  20. pyroglyphian

    pyroglyphian Active Member

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    It's like that in my musical projects; every so often out of the ugly din comes a golden moment that makes it all worthwhile. However creative you are, other people will always surprise you and push you in directions you couldn't have imagined; it's a great way to learn and expand your horizons. Just takes a bit of trust, patience, optimism, a sense of perspective, and the ability to let go.
     
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