The Rhyming Detective: The Stuffed of Nightmares

(Simon Paul Miller) #1

Password: whodunit@2

The Rhyming Detective: The Stuffed of Nightmares
The Rhyming Detective is an audio podcast about Dick Dick Digger; a (not very good) Detective who speaks in rhyme (to find out why, you’ll have to listen to episode 1). It’s intended as a family-friendly comedy and is recorded in a church in front of a live audience in Leamington Spa (England). Some adventures are set in the present, where he always speaks in rhyme, and others in his past, so for these only the narration is in rhyme. His style of speech is along the lines of many a Philip Chandler adaptation. If that doesn’t mean much to you, it might be a good idea to listen to one of the existing episodes before reading this one. Four episodes have been recorded (episodes 1, 3, 4 and a mini Christmas special episode) and are available to listen to as a podcast or can be played directly from the Rhyming Detective web site.

The author is me, Simon Paul Miller. I’ve previously written a short Doctor Who story made into an audio by Big Finish and have written many one-liners used on two topical BBC radio shows (Newsjack & Breaking The News).

The script I’d like you to review will be episode 2. It is the most ‘rhyme heavy’ episode yet and only requires two actors. This is to offset the complexity of the other episode we will be recording on the same night which features the largest cast we will have attempted yet. My biggest worries are…

  • There’s a fair bit of setting up for this story. Does it take too long to get going?
  • Is there too much rhyming?
  • Does the story work?
  • And most importantly, did it make you laugh? (And which bits if it did).

Web Page:




(Bri Castellini) #2

@mintypineapple @movieguyjon

(Meg Carroway) #3

I have to finish reading but the first thing that strikes me is that the meter is kind of off? Sometimes the rhyme is clear, sometimes the line lengths are so inconsistent that even though two words are rhyming, it doesn’t sound like a rhyme in my head. I do think the lead in is a bit long, too, but I’m interested because it’s pretty funny.

(Meg Carroway) #4

I’ve read a little further and is Dick Dick the only one who’s supposed to be rhyming, or are all of them? Too Too sometimes rhymes but sometimes doesn’t, and it’s a little confusing. (If I’m being honest, I’d prefer only the Detective to rhyme, because it’s kind of the conceit of the show and because rhyming is annoying if overdone, so one character seems like enough)

(sam lockie-waring) #5

why is this episode 2 if you’ve already released 3 & 4? also… how?

(Simon Paul Miller) #6

Only Dick Dick has to rhyme his words.
When Too Too rhymes, it’s coincidence.
Thanks - I shall put that on my list of things to revise in the next draft.

(Meg Carroway) #7

Ok I’m really enjoying a lot of this, but the inconsistent rhyme meter is really bugging me. Take this as an example:

Too-Too’s shot hit exactly where the bolt was, the
door swung open wide, (17 syllables)
We entered Room B Three to find a scene of a rather
gruesome homicide. (19 syllables)

The body was on the floor, sat upright against the
wall, stabbed once on the left and once on the right. (24 syllables)
His face was pale, eyes and mouth wide open, in an
expression of pure fright. (18 syllables)

If your detective speaks in rhyme, his meter should be consistent, otherwise it’s only a rhyme on a technicality. Half of rhyming is meter, and when the meter isn’t consistent within a rhyming couplet, let alone between couplets, it feels really off to the reader and/or listener. You should have the same number of syllables for each rhyming sentence (with a +/- 2 syllable grace period) and once you’ve decided on the number of syllables, all further rhymes should also have that many syllables. It’s distracting and makes it hard to follow otherwise

(Bri Castellini) #8

I laughed at: the penguins running joke specifically, but there was a lot within Dick Dick Digger’s retrospective moments that I enjoyed a lot.

I agree with @Meg that the inconsistent rhyming structure is really distracting and made it hard to focus on the words and the story. It’s a funny structure and I think the story works, but if most of the dialog/story is told in rhyme, the rhyme needs to be consistent enough that we’re not focusing on that, we’re focusing on said dialog/story.

The only other thing I’d say is that I wish there were more characters, partially to split up the rhyming and partially because Too-Too was so much fun and I would have liked to see more interaction and action, rather than so much exposition (even though much of the exposition was amusing).

(Simon Paul Miller) #9

"why is this episode 2 if you’ve already released 3 & 4? also… how?"
Okay, it’s a long story…
I originally had a 6 episode series plan with a sub-plot running in the background.
When we were rehearsing to record our first episode, I had two volunteers to play the other parts. Then someone else asked if they could take part and I decided to try and record two episodes on the night. At that point, the only episode that had two characters in it was episode 4, so we added that to the evening.
The next recording session, I got three actors on board who were perfect for episode three, so that got recorded next. During the rehearsals for this, I decided to get rid of the series sub-plot (although there are a couple of references to it in Episode 4) . I also added the mini Christmas episode to be recorded alongside it as I was asked if I could make the recording event Christmas related.
The original Episode 2, set during an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, has since been scrapped and this is it’s replacement.
One unintended advantage of this is that I’ve had some nice emails from people who’ve enjoyed the podcast and asked where the missing episodes are. Feedback I guess I wouldn’t have had if we’d released episodes in order. :slight_smile:

EDIT - Added comment in italics.

(Simon Paul Miller) #10

"the inconsistent rhyme meter is really bugging me."
I have read it out to a sample audience and they haven’t picked up on that. I think I can get away with it in my delivery. I’d be interested to know if you listened to a recorded episode if it still bugs you because I think I use the same technique to get around that issue in other episodes.

(Meg Carroway) #11

I listed to a few minutes of episode 1- it’s kind of distracting there, too, because you can’t let yourself get into a pattern of delivery so it was like I was in a car that kept starting and stopping and I never knew when. It’s definitely less pronounced when you deliver it (and again- there’s a lot I like!) but it’s definitely a thing you should consider when rewriting. Or not! But that’s my feedback.

(Simon Paul Miller) #12

Thanks for doing that, @Meg.
That’s something I wasn’t aware was an issue and an added complication to getting the dialogue and punchlines to work (but, hey! that’s my fault for having a central character that rhymes his words!).
Also thanks to @Bri_Castellini for reinforcing that point. (Glad you like the penguins). Your concern over the amount of exposition echo’s my own, I think I need to come up with more stuff for Too and Too to do.

(Jonathan Hardesty) #13

I’m not done reading yet, but I lost it when the driver drove off RIGHT after Dick Dick Digger expressed that he might not be a good detective. So far so good, and I agree with what’s already been said about the meter. Delivery can certainly help with that and from what I’ve listened to you have a handle on the rhyming so it doesn’t bug me all that much, but in the read it causes me to stop and re-read a section to make sure I caught the rhyme.

And yeah, the more consistent you can make that meter, the easier it will be for you in the performance too. And I think if you can get a more consistent meter going, you can then subvert that in key moments to throw us off guard.

I really like the moments where Dick tries to make the rhyme and the meter work and it ends up feeling forced. Twisting words to hit the rhyme is hilarious for me, so keep that up! :smiley:

(Simon Paul Miller) #14

Too-Too’s shot hit exactly where the bolt was, the
door swung open wide, (17 syllables)
We entered Room B Three to find a scene of a rather
gruesome homicide. (19 syllables)

Too-Too’s shot hit exactly where the bolt was, the
door swung open wide, (17 syllables)
We entered Room B Three to find a scene of a
gruesome homicide. (17 syllables)

The second version does sound better. I’ll shall revise and try to match up the syllables where I can.