This post is not to be confused with the above t.v. show, which both engrosses and annoys me.
No, this post is actually about a certain science fiction show about a time-traveling alien doctor:
^ Yes, this one
I love Doctor Who. Don’t you?
I think my favorite part is that it can really be anything: the premise is ripe for reinvention and exploration. Honestly, I think that the chance to work on Doctor Who is a speculative writer’s ultimate fantasy. At least, it’s this speculative writer’s ultimate fantasy. Sometimes, I daydream about what I would do, given the opportunity to work with the coolest writer’s toy out there.
So I thought it would be a fun exercise to share some of my ideas – and I want to hear your ideas, too!
- Lady doctor! I’d want her all quirky and clever and occasionally condescending to the plebes. Of course, you have to advance the Doctor’s recurrent themes about isolation in the universe, as well as the ethical implications of the Time War…
- When women go quirky, they’re infantilized a la Zooey Deschanel. When men go quirky, no one appreciates their genius. Actually, I think Zooey could do a great job, but I am a Zooey fan so your mileage may vary. Let’s just write her a character people appreciate as smart – or should, if they’re being smart.
We’ll even let her bring her ukulele – because ukuleles, like bowties, are cool
- Male companion with a crush on the lady doctor, even though she is out of his universe. (Literally.)
- Do I need to explain this one?
Thank you, Donna, for being apparently the only woman in the universe who can resist the Doctor’s man-musk (and yet you’re still the only person I ship with him)
- Scooby Gang! In a way, I understand why Doctor Who has stuck closely one or two companions – you don’t want the audience to get too attached to any group of companions, because Doctor Who is all about reinvention and Scooby Gangs have a way of endearing themselves to the audience. (See: Buffy.) Also, maybe budget concerns?
- But Doctor Who gives the Doctor the opportunity to make a diverse group of allies throughout the universe – and it seems a shame to waste the potential dynamics that a time-traveling, spacefaring group could create. I want to see a medieval milkmaid interact with a Martian – not just fleetingly, but over a long span of time. Focusing on the group dynamics of the companions might make the show slightly less about the Doctor, but couldn’t that be a good thing? I mean, there’s only so many times we can see different actors angst about the same Doctor issues.
- Extended storylines with decent pacing. Yes, we already have extended storylines. And Moffat seems to have steered away from them in this current season, maybe because there was so much backlash about last season? But the problem with last season wasn’t the extended storyline itself, which I think could have been cool. Like, the blueprint looks okay. But the storyline was frenetically paced, often rushed, and sometimes completely nonsensical.
- *SPOILER ALERT*
- Amy and Rory have a baby! But they don’t care about that baby, apparently, because they never talk about it? Oh my God their childhood friend is their baby! That just came out of nowhere and is never discussed again. While we’re at it, River Song’s entire story arc – which has been teased over two seasons – is going to be basically covered in a single episode.
- And now I’m going to stop whining about it because I think that a disappointing season of Doctor Who is still miles better than most television – but there’s no getting around the fact that we had a decent extended storyline, which would have been more satisfying if the pace had been slowed and characters had been treated as real people rather than tools existing to serve the plot.
- Less Daleks, more Sleeping Angels. ‘Nuff said. This is just shameless personal preference and I have no shame.
- I’d totally write an episode with fantasy tropes (dragons, magic, wizards, ect.) where it turns out to be a planet with advanced technology…
- Because I want to see the Doctor interact with a dragon.
- Because dragons are cool.
There you have it! Some of the basic ways I would change Doctor Who.
(It’s already pretty great, don’t get me wrong. Don’t mean to imply that it needs to be changed. Just having fun.)
What would YOU do with Doctor Who?
SUNDAY LINK LOVE
- Doctor Mew.
- Doctor Hoot.
- More Doctor Hoot.
Art by Terry Fan
- I’m kind of addicted to Sarah Reees Brennan’s Tumblr and Livejournal, so I enjoyed this duel interview with her and Justine Larbalestier, partially because they’re talking about how different their respective writing processes are. Always great to hear the message that every writer is different and that’s okay, as opposed to the message that there’s only one “right” way to write.
- This is a great, sensitive article about how to write lesbians when you’re not a lesbian. Personally, I think that writers (by and large, not as a rule) need to write identities other than their own in order to increase diversity representation in fiction. But it’s also important to be smart with your portrayals. And sometimes that involves research.
- A little dispiriting, but Kristen Nelson did an interesting thing this week where she posted the rave reviews – and the editor’s rejections – concerning the debut novel Firelight. If you’re looking for more evidence about the inherent subjectivity in writing, then this is the post for you.
- Great article from Kristen Lamb about training to be a career author.
- Ghenet Myrthil posted some excellent tips that she picked up from the Writer’s Digest 2012 conference.
- Shadow art? Did you know this was a thing? I did not. It’s freaking amazing. Michael Offut posted many freaking amazing pictures of freaking amazing shadow art, and I grabbed one of the pics, but there’s tons more on his blog, so head over and check it out.
ROW 80 UPDATE
My ROW 80 goal is to write 750 words a week on 750words.com.
I cheated a little this week. Technically I wrote 750 words every day, making my current word count for the week 5401 – and I still have tomorrow’s writing to do. However, it becomes a lot less impressive when you realize that a lot of that word count was retyping words into the 750 words site, not to mention writing outlines.
On Wednesday, I worked on my short story Rainbow Days and sent part of it to my critique group, but I didn’t generate any new content; I just organized my mixed-up scenes, meaning that there’s now an entire coherent, chronological beginning. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it came together. Maybe there’s a method to my madness after all. And I’m remembering how much I love to write short stories – someday I would like to publish a short story collection titled These Stories are Not True.
It was good that the short story work was relaxing, because otherwise this week was spent freaking out about KtLO.
You see, I do this thing when I write. This horrible, horrible, horrible thing.
I come up with a million ideas, fall in love with all of them, and refuse to recognize when they just. do. not. fit together. Ladies and gentleman, this is how plot holes form, why characters suddenly start acting out of character. For the most part, I’ve ignored the plot holes and associated problems while drafting, because hey, I’m drafting, and I can go back later and plug in the holes, right? (While we’re on the subject – problems go away when you close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears, right?)
Except that on Friday, I found a mother of a plot hole and it risked collapsing the entire story. I won’t go into details, but basically a potential love interest had some information that completely erased the main character’s major conflict in the story, which happened because the conflict was present in an earlier vision of the story and the love interest was not. And I just sort of came up with both ideas without realizing that they were water and oil to each other. And they were both major THIS IS WHY I’M WRITING THIS STORY ideas.
Anyway, I fixed that.
It should work now, but it involved spending today outlining rather than ‘writing writing’ so I have about 600 words in my word count that are definitely words I typed out, but not words that actually attribute to a page count.
Still, I don’t feel bad. It was necessary.
And that outline looks hella good.
It’s only gonna get worse next week in the fake-word-count department, because I’m going to just focus on the beginning of the story on the while, which means retyping some scenes in order to reorganize them and add some important details. I’m gonna try not to write out of order again until I can get the beginning – my foundation – down. Don’t get me wrong; I think writing out of order is effective, and I highly recommend it. But right now I need to do the writing equivalent of gathering my thoughts.
How was your week, fellow ROWers?
If you’re curious about ROW 80, and/or want to support the participants, check it out here.
SUNDAY LINK LOVE
- A couple great things from io9 this week. Like this fantastic Doctor Who/Proclaimers music video made by the cast and crew to wish goodbye to David Tennant:
- Also, I really enjoyed this response by Charlie Jane Anders to Glen Duncan’s book review in which he compared a literary writer dabbling in genre to an intellectual dating a porn star. Yeah. For the record, I think it’s hilarious that people in the business of making up things have decided that some made up things are inherently better than other made up things.
- The Mary Sue posted an awesome video reunion of those four hobbits. I’m not smartly enough to embed it here, but it’s definitely worth the click.
- So. Did you know? As a writer, sometimes you experience rejection. And Joan Frances Turner over at the Parking Lot Confessional wrote a great guest post about how she got through ninety four rejections before landing her agent. Truly inspiring stuff.
- Oh man. Natalie Hartford did an absolutely wonderful roundup of musical talent over at her blog. I’m posting just one of those videos here, but I strongly encourage you to hop on over to her blog and check out some other delicious musical treats.
- Mauren Johnson has been doing some great posts about NaNoWriMo. So far, I think this one – wherein she compares writing that first draft to rolling a cheese wheel down a hill - is my favorite.
- Confession time – sometimes, when reading books, I skip ahead and read the ending and then go back and read the rest. I’m not ashamed of it. Jaime Callahan isn’t either, and this post is a great defense of that behavior.
- Some Twitter stuff! Okay, this is an “old” post, but I still found Diana Digaya’s post about Twitter hashtags for writers to be very helpful. Because to be honest, Twitter still intimidates and confuses me. Each hashtag is a culture all its own and I don’t necessarily know the rules…
- Speaking of Twitter hashtags, Andrew Mocete is starting a new hashtag for writers entitled #TheRut. Ten cents if you can figure out what it’s about. I love this because I think everyone goes through this, and it’s nice to have a place to support and encourage each other. Kind of like ROW 80! Which I am going to get to now.
ROW 80 UPDATE
To recap, my ROW 80 goals:
1. Finish outline for the first book.
- 2. After the outlines are finished, write 4000 words a week on KtLO.
- 3. Write a short short for every meeting of the monthly critique group.
This week was kind of a mess.
It started out fine. I cleaned up my outline and even significantly reworked the beginning, so I ended up being thankful that I took that space of a week to think it over. I revised the short short I wrote last month. For the most part, I think the big problems are fixed.
But when it came time to work on my short short for the next meeting of the critique group – which is this Tuesday – oh boy.
So, I’d wanted to take a prologue from an aborted novel and work it into a short short. Except that the piece is on an old computer for which I currently lack the power cord, said power chord being at my mom’s house.
No problem! Or at least I told myself. In fact, I decided to go with another short story that I wrote a couple years ago for workshop. This was also on an old computer, but fortunately I have the power chord for that one. However, when I looked for the file, I just couldn’t find it anymore. And then I began to remember that I wrote this story around the time that I decided to clean out my computer and erase all my documents. Now, before you freak out at me, I put everything on a flash drive for safekeeping. But now here’s the part where you can freak out at me – I have no idea where that flash drive is.
Yeah, that’s how unorganized and frankly stupid I can be.
An accurate representation of my filing system
Fortunately! And I do mean fortunately. My mom is the complete opposite of me in the organization department, to the point where I’ve compared her to Monica on Friends. Turns out that she had a print-out of the story in a file. Yeah, I don’t know either. She’s kind of a wizard. Anyway, my poor mom agreed to photocopy the story and mail it to me. But first – I got a well-deserved lecture.
It’s too late to submit to the critique group now but I figure I’ll still go because it’s a nice place to talk to other writers (like, in person and stuff) and you don’t have to submit something in order to attend the group. I actually got the story in the mail already so I’m going to start reworking it today for online betas and stuff. And I guess I’ll use it for next month’s meeting. It’s a shame that I already failed part of my third goal, but what can you do? Unless you want to give me a time machine, which I’ll totally take. But really I just need to learn from my mistakes and
try be more organized in the future.
Anyway, I’m right on schedule to start working on the first draft of KtLO tomorrow. And I’m excited!
Now, when you’ve been hyping/preparing a story for so long, there’s always the risk that you’ll freeze when you actually sit down to write the darn thing. But I already have a starter paragraph in mind, so I’m not too worried about it.
I’m also not sure about that 4000 word count – right now with NaNoWriMo going on, it seems really puny. But I don’t want to set it much higher in case it overwhelms me. I figure I’ll go with 4000 for a couple weeks and if I find that I keep blowing past it, then I’ll raise it.
The trick is to find that magical number that maximizes your productivity and minimizes your burnout. If you guys have the secret formula for that, please let me know.
Otherwise, I hope you guys have a great week. Please support other ROWers here.
And here’s your moment of cute: