One of the reasons for the success of Doctor Who over its nearly sixty years of history is the variety of stories the show presents. The stakes can be small or potentially universe-ending. The setting can be the past, present, or future, or a combination thereof. And within a given story, the tone can change from light-hearted to deadly serious in a pair of heartbeats.
I have a particular fondness for the third Doctor’s era, and as a writer, I enjoy writing in a variety of styles, from serious character studies to light-hearted affairs. Recently, I wrote a light-hearted, third Doctor story called “The Unravelling.” What I was going for here was to provide an amusing, in-universe explanation of why the walls at UNIT HQ were occasionally prone to wobble. And, why it was that the quality of light indoors was quite different from outdoors.
It’s been published by The Doctor Who Project, which posts two kinds of stories. On the one hand, they continue the adventures of the seventh Doctor past the cancelation of the series. These can be considered to take place in an alternative universe. The Doctor has regenerated several times in this universe.
The other stories are tales of the classic Doctors under the umbrella, Brief Encounters. Herein you’ll find “The Unravelling” among many other Doctor Who short stories.
Please give it a read and let me know if you enjoy it. And do check out the other fine stories collected here.
For a long time now, I’ve been itching to take my four-story fan fiction saga that linked the Firefly, Castle, and Doctor Who universes, and combine them into a single volume. It’s called The Time Conspiracy.
It all started back in 2012 with my fanfic story, “Goodbye.” In that story, I introduced time travel to the Firefly universe because—hey! It’s me. After the events of the movie Serenity, Mal and company meet up with someone from their past who should be dead. And they’re not the only ones who have been seeing ghosts. Something is wrong, and it’s up to the crew of Serenity to put it right.
This story led, inevitably perhaps, to a couple of Firefly–Castle crossovers. In “A Firefly in the Castle”, Mal visits Castle’s Earth. In “Castle Serenity”, Castle and Beckett find themselves in the far future and join the crew of Serenity. In these stories, we learn that Mal and Castle are clones, inserted into their respective time streams to nudge events in a direction favourable to the Alliance.
The conclusion of the saga came with “Miranda” in 2016. This story brings the eleventh Doctor and Clara to the Firefly universe to get to the bottom of why the Alliance is meddling with time.
It’s interesting and gratifying to see how my writing improves along the way. And there are other things. The closing scene of “Castle Serenity” is, I think, the most touching thing I’ve written. To this day, it continues to makes me misty-eyed. And from a plotting perspective, “Miranda” is the most complex story I’ve written, telling its story while fitting into the events of “Castle Serenity” and the movie Serenity.
I also have to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading this adventure. I hope you do too.
I was in the mood for some multi-Doctor silliness. This bit of fanfic is the result.
This is a work of fan fiction. No copyright infringement is intended.
“What?” said Ten through clenched teeth.
“Oh, this isn’t good,” said Eleven.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Twelve, taking in the twelve figures gathered with him on the grassy hilltop. “We’re all here. Same place, same time. Even Not The Doctor over there.”
The Warrior swiveled his head. “Are you referring to me?” he growled. Then, with a haunted look on his face, he added “It’s true. I’m the Doctor—“
“No more!” Nine through Twelve chorused together.
“Well I for one think it’s smashing that we’re all here,” said Thirteen, who had suddenly appeared. “I mean, dangerous and potentially universe-ending, but totally smashing.”
“Now see here, young lady, ” said One. “This matter is extremely serious. It’s no time for feminine frivolity.”
Doctors Two through Twelve whistled silently, shook their heads, and stepped back a couple of paces. After a moment of speechless silence, Thirteen said, “I … I don’t even know where to start with you. Okay, first off — young lady? Seriously? Next to me you’re a babe in arms. I’m thousands of years older than you, so a bit of respect? Or you might find yourself on Skaro without a TARDIS.”
“Skaro?” said One, gripping his lapels. Her words appeared to have had as little impact as rainwater on a duck. “What’s Skaro, then, hmm?”
“Spoilers,” said Eleven as he adjusted his bow tie.
“Look, enough of all that,” said Three. “We need to address the situation. Might I suggest we begin by attempting to reverse the —”
“No!” chorused Four through Thirteen.
Nonplussed, Three glanced at the other Doctors and shrugged his shoulders.
Two retrieved a recorder from his coat pocket and had just put it to his lips when Six snatched it away. “Don’t. Even. Think about it,” said Six.
As he observed Four playing with a yo-yo, Eight cast his eyes outward. The grassy hill upon which he and his other selves stood rose some 50 meters above the surrounding flatlands. And the horizon ….
Nine noticed the same thing. After making eye contact with Eight he said, “Oi! You lot. Care to guess how far it is to the horizon?”
“That must be about seven kilometers,” said Seven.
“Yes,” said Eight. “But have you noticed the gravity? The horizon suggests a small world and yet the gravity suggests a much larger one.”
“Perhaps this is simply a very dense small planet,” said Two.
“The little fellow may be right,” said One, “but I suspect that something else is happening here.”
“What?” said Three. “Confound it man, just say it.”
“This may not be a planet at all,” said Two. “This might be a pocket universe. Look above us. There’s no sun, so where’s the illumination coming from?”
Eleven turned pale. “I’ve just had a thought.”
“Oh really?” said Twelve. “Well, don’t worry, it’ll die of loneliness in there.”
“Funny,” said Eleven, not smiling. Turning his back on Twelve and addressing the others, he added, “This might not be a pocket universe. This might be a simulation.”
Two’s shoulders slumped. “And here I was having a perfectly splendid nap.”
Five’s eyes widened. “Having a nap you say?” Puff. “Odd.” Puff. “I was napping as well.”
“Look,” said Six, “Why are you always so short of breath?” Shaking his head, he added, “As it happens, the last thing I recall is laying down for a nap.”
It was true of all of them, the Doctors confirmed.
“We really need to put our heads together for this one. Agreed?” Noting the nods from her other selves, Thirteen said, “Contact.”
“Contact,” mirrored the others.
With their thoughts connected, the collected minds of the Doctors reviewed the facts and analyzed countless paths of possibilities, dismissing some, examining others more closely until a thought intruded upon them that was not theirs.
“Oh good, you’re here.”
Releasing themselves from their mental connection, the Doctors gaped at the newcomer. It was a woman, her hair arranged in dreadlocks, dressed in a blue frock coat and waistcoat, kente shirt, with dark trousers and shoes.
Thirteen’s face fell. “Oh no,” she said. The new arrival gave her a wink.
“Do you know this young lady?” queried One. “Is she another one of us?”
“You can just call me … Ruth for now. Thank you all for coming. With your help, I’ll be able to escape this place. We all will.”
“Where are we?” said Ten.
“Who brought us here?” said Eleven.
“And why?” said Twelve.
“The purple man over there was right. We are within a simulated environment. It’s generated by a dying TARDIS trapped within the Vortex. Like a drowning swimmer, it was grabbing for a life buoy, anything to help it. It needed a Time Lord. At last, it detected me, but didn’t have enough energy reserves to transmat me here physically. Instead, it uploaded my consciousness while I slept. The TARDIS created this simulation for me to interact with it. I haven’t been able to help it by myself. Not enough psychic energy. So I suggested that it seek out another Time Lord that I’d met recently.“
At this, Ruth cast her eyes at Thirteen.
“So you are a Time Lord,” said Four.
“That’s not possible,” said Eleven.
“And yet here we all are,” said Ruth with a patient smile. “The thing is, I hadn’t counted on also uploading some of her other selves. So I’m sorry I dragged you away from your sleeping bodies, but when we’ve finished, all of this will seem like an odd dream.”
“Of course, if we fail, if the TARDIS dies while we’re still trapped in this simulation, then we die as well,” said Nine.
“That won’t happen,” said Thirteen. “We won’t let it.”
“The answer seems obvious to me,” said the Warrior. “Set a delayed self-destruct and send our consciousness back to our respective bodies.”
There was silence. “That’s cold,” said Twelve. “Even for you, that’s cold.”
“Is there an alternative?” said the Warrior. “I’d be happy to hear it.”
“We need facts,” said Seven. “How can we access the TARDIS systems?”
“We simply ask,” said Ruth. “Like this.” Looking up and spreading her arms, Ruth said, “TARDIS, please show us your control console.”
A familiar octagonal shape started to appear, but it was blurry, streaked with jagged black and white lines like a CRT display in need of adjustment.
“It can’t stabilize the simulation,” said Ten. “We need to help it. We need to focus all of our concentration on that console.”
The Doctors closed their eyes, faced furrowed with effort, until finally the simulated console solidified on the hilltop.
“Excellent,” said Ruth. “Well done. And now—”
But before she could finish, thirteen Doctors were in a scramble for the console. A shrill whistle from Twelve stopped them in their tracks. “Older and wiser heads, perhaps, eh?” said Twelve, casting a glance at Thirteen.
“Sure,” said Thirteen. “Thanks.” Thirteen and Ruth proceeded to examine the settings and readouts upon the console for several minutes. When they were done, they stopped, made eye contact, and nodded.
“What have you learned?” said One.
“It is possible to save this TARDIS,” said Thirteen. “It needs to regenerate, but can’t. The systems to trigger a regeneration have been damaged. However, with our combined psyches, we could bypass those systems. We just need to pre-program the instructions to first transmit our consciousness back to our bodies.”
“Perfect,” said Five. Puff. “An excellent solution.”
“Are we all agreed?” asked Thirteen. All the Doctors nodded. Glancing at Ruth, Thirteen said, “Good. Now let’s get to work.”
Ruth and Thirteen spent some time programming the TARDIS to return them to themselves just prior prior to regenerating. When it was done, Thirteen addressed the other Doctors.
“Okay, this is the crucial bit. We need to join again and use the console’s telepathic circuit to trigger a regeneration.” Thirteen placed her hands upon the circuit and said, “Contact.”
“Contact,” the others chorused. “Contact,” echoed Ruth.
Opening her eyes, Thirteen sat up. She wasn’t in the simulation any more. It must have worked! Well done us, she thought. She was back in her TARDIS, though the room didn’t look immediately familiar.
Wait a minute. What was this around her neck? A scarf? A very long scarf, in fact. Oh no.
Getting to her feet, the Doctor looked at her reflection in a nearby mirror. She saw a familiar face. Just not the right face. Long curly hair, bright eyes, tweed coat, and, um, she was male again. A female mind in a male body. Well, she wouldn’t be the first. Her eyes opening wide, she realized that meant that he was …. And Yaz was due for a bit of a shock.
Dropping into a chair, she rested her head in her hands and thought, Right. Just another day in the life of the Doctor.
The COVID-19 pandemic affects all of us. Physical distancing guidelines mean we stay at home except for runs to the grocery and drug store. Physical distancing doesn’t necessarily mean social distancing, however. Not completely.
Software such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and others, allow you to interact visually with people from, well, anywhere. Emails, messaging apps, and social media such as Facebook and Instagram also allow us to keep in touch.
It’s not the same, though, is it? Of course, it can’t be, not even if we had Star Trek-like holographic communicators. It’s no substitute for being in the same space with someone. Still, beggars can’t be choosers, and we’re lucky that we live in an age where so many means of communication are open to us.
It fascinates me how Twitter has come into its own during this crisis, and has allowed communities to interact with one another in real time. By community, I mean groups of people with shared interests, no matter where they are in the world.
I often write about Doctor Who, and those who enjoy the show and its spin-off media are certainly a kind of community, one which has been very active these past weeks. Emily Cook (@Emily_Rosina), of Doctor Who Magazine fame, has organized several global Doctor Who watch-alongs. She selects an episode, sets up a time, and everyone starts watching at the same time and can contribute to a Twitter dialog. She’s managed to snag previous showrunners Stephen Moffat and Russell T. Davies, and many cast members, including David Tennant and Matt Smith. TardisMonkey (@tardis_monkey) has done the same with some notable “classic” Doctor Who episodes, including “The Five Doctors” and the upcoming watch-along, “The Three Doctors”.
Lily May Sherratt (@IreneWildthyme) has organized some listen-alongs with content from Big Finish Productions. Among these were the four Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trips, including “Forever Fallen”, “Landbound”, “Last Day at Work”, and “The Best-Laid Plans”, with live Twitter commentary from the authors, including yours truly. Big Finish themselves recently organized a global listen-along to the Eighth Doctor story, “The Chimes of Midnight”.
There are other types of community projects. For example, for the past few weeks, seven authors of Big Finish Short Trips have collaborated on a Doctor Who fan fiction story, one tweet at a time. With a couple of weeks to go, we’ve just topped 1,000 words. Almost surprisingly, the story is working out pretty well. I say “almost surprisingly” because there’s been no coordinated plotting, and none of us has any idea what will come from a given day’s tweet. It’s been a fascinating experiment in minimalistic writing, because you need to keep your word count down while moving the story forward in some way. All in 280 characters. Look out for the hashtag, #WhoFicTweets.
Aside from being an interesting exercise in collaboration, particularly as I’ve never collaborated with other writers before, I find it’s given me a nice feeling of connection with the other writers. And in these times, we can use all the connections that we can get.
I would urge you, if you’re at wits end during this extended period of lockdown, to seek out community members with similar interests and engage in some activity, be it a creative endeavour or not. Don’t disparage the notion of online friends and colleagues. There are a bunch of people that I’ve “met” online, through writing fan fiction or in the world of Doctor Who, and I’ve enjoyed these relationships very much.
There’s many rewards to be had in the social media space. Just, you know, stay away from the trolls.
I’ve increasingly noticed that, when someone doesn’t like what’s been done with their favourite fandom, they might liken the offending episode to fan fiction. And not in a good way. In a dismissive way, in fact, as if fan fiction is something to be avoided at all costs if you are at all discerning of quality.
This is a very facile put-down, and reflects more on the commentator than on the body of fan fiction works. What does the put-down actually mean? What is it about fan fiction that they are referring to? If it’s a perceived bent towards fan service, well, it’s fan fiction, isn’t it? The ending of Game of Thrones angered a lot of people and was considered by some to be a bad idea. (Not unlike the creation of the Universe in Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). This is because it was not what many fans were expecting or hoping for. Is there anything wrong with that? Are media creators required to take a poll and shape their stories accordingly? I really hope not. The thing is, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t complain when a story goes in an unexpected direction, and then dismiss another story as fan servicing. Fan fiction is all about making stories that fans would love to see. Things like romantic liaisons between characters, and weird and wonderful crossovers. Where else would you see Star Trek crossovers with Harry Potter, or Castle crossovers with Firefly?
Those who treat fan fiction dismissively might be referring to the perceived quality of stories and/or writing. They might say that 90% of fan fiction is junk. In this they would be right. But I refer you to Sturgeon’s Law. Science Fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon famously said that 90% of everything is junk: TV shows, movies, books, you name it. I’ve read some remarkable fan fiction, stories that I wish could have been made into “canon”. And I’ve known some fan fiction writers (*cough*) who evolved into pretty good writers over time. For instance, a Doctor Who fan fiction writer I’ve corresponded with many times, Ichabod Ebenezer, has gone on to win a short story contest and has had a story commercially published in an anthology. His first novel is available on Amazon. Writing fan fiction gives you an opportunity to improve your craft while becoming part of a friendly community.
In fact, there’s a lot to love about fan fiction, so before you use the term in a disparaging way, dive into it a bit. There are thousands of stories available on fanfiction.net and AO3. You’ll find that at least 10% of what’s out there are real gems.
Would someone please tell me what it is about romance novels? I mean, what is it about them that makes people actually want to read them?
My latest Castle fanfic is another light-hearted stab at the genre. There’s a lot of romance in the Castle group on fanfiction.net. Stuff like,
“Oh, Castle, I…”
“I know. Oh, Beckett, I know.”
Researching the genre a bit, I purchased a popular Harlequin Blaze novel, Thrill Me by Leslie Kelly. I was pleasantly surprised by the opening chapter. In fact, I was hooked by the first three sentences:
Sophie Winchester was skilled at only two things. She could type 120 words per minute without a single error.
And she was damn good at committing murder.
Like I said, hooked.
It turns out Sophie only commits murder on paper. As Richard Castle says, a lot more lucrative, a lot less prison.
She lives in a town called Derryville, a nod to Stephen King’s fictional town of Derry, where Very Bad Things happen. And keep happening. Nice touch!
But all good things come to an end, and we get down to it. The romance part. At the sight of the new sheriff in town, Sophie finds herself weak and dizzy, unable to stand without his assistance, unable to take her hands off him after gripping his oh so manly shoulders for support.
You get the idea.
And people like this stuff? Admittedly, I don’t read a huge amount of romance, but this type of behaviour on the part of the female protagonist doesn’t seem unusual. What happened to the concern one hears about the lack of strong, female characters in movies and TV shows? Are romance authors trying to harken back to an earlier age, in which females waited for their Prince Charming to make them weak at the knees and fluttery in the eyes? If so, what age would that be? Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I would point out, was published in the late 18th Century. I don’t see the women in that novel behaving like silly, limp dolls. Well, except for Lydia, of course.
How about a couple of strong characters with a complex relationship, buffeted by forces outside of their control, having to make life-changing decisions where no matter what they choose, someone gets hurt? Or is that sort of thing not considered a “romance” novel, but just a plain non-genre novel?
Ah well. In the end, it’s easy to poke fun at the romance genre, but at least its got people reading, and that’s always a good thing.
As has been noted elsewhere, there’s something about the Internet and its inherent anonymity that brings out abusive behaviour in too many people.
Treat others as you would like to be treated isn’t a particularly profound principle. You can derive it very simply if you accept that a world in which you are treated well is better than one in which you are not. Let’s leave that derivation as an exercise for the reader, shall we?
Sadly, there are so many examples of abusive behaviour online that one can only highlight a few. Relentless bullying of teens, to the point of driving the victim to suicide, is all too well known. Twitter personalities such as John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton are frequent targets. Writer Mary Robinette Kowal was famously the subject of abuse from a fellow writer not long ago. And of course, there’s the recent GamerGate debacle which targeted women in the gaming community with vociferous, hateful abuse.
Oddly enough, writers of fanfiction are also subject to their share of abuse. This is particularly puzzling. After all, people write fanfiction because (a) they love the subject matter, and (b) they love to write. They (we) certainly don’t do it for the money. And for this they receive abuse? Really?
It seems that when you put yourself and your work out there, some of the more misguided amongst us take it as an invitation to hurl abuse. Why is that? Are they trying to make up for their own inadequacies? Does it make them feel good about themselves? Odd if it does, because words frequently associated with these individuals include “troll” and “coward”. Not qualities one would normally aspire to, or so you’d think.
It’s entirely possible to disagree with someone in a respectful way. It’s quite alright to provide a writer with negative feedback if it’s done in a constructive way. (“It might improve the story if you deleted scenes C and E.”) But abuse? There’s no place for it at all, under any circumstances, for any reason.
The thing that most shocks people out of their skulls when they read George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is the abandon with which he kills off major characters. Characters so major that you’ve assumed all along that the series is about them.
Ask any writer, and I think they’ll tell you that their characters become a kind of family. After all, you come to know them so well that you hear their voices in your head. So killing them is not something done lightly. The question is, why kill off major characters at all?
One reason might be to reflect the times in which the characters live. If you read Charles Dickens, you’ll find it entirely possible in some books to lose count of the number of deaths. But consider: in the 1800’s, one in five children were dead by age five, and those who survived childhood could expect to be dead by forty. Death in those times was very much a part of life.
Another reason is what I call the Joss Whedon effect. Fans of the TV series Firefly were, to put it mildly, shocked that two major characters were killed in the follow-up movie, Serenity. The reason for this, as Joss Whedon explained in the movie commentary, was to place some doubt in the minds of the audience as to whether or not the remaining characters would survive. After all, in most stories, no matter how harrowing the action, the major characters generally pull through. The only real question is, how will they pull through? By killing two characters, Whedon shook us out of our complacency and really made us wonder not just how, but if our beloved characters would survive.
This line of thinking was prompted by a comment I received regarding one of my fanfic stories. “Western Castle” is an alternate universe version of Castle set in the wild west. In that story, I killed off one of the major characters. Why? Partly to achieve the Joss Whedon effect, so that the reader would wonder who would survive, and partly to resolve a minor plotting problem that would arise later on if the character didn’t die. The comment I received was to the effect that killing that character was painful to that reader. For a writer, that’s a nice compliment, tempered by the fact that I didn’t create the character in the first place, but still.
Regarding the death of major characters, the worst thing you can do is what is so commonly done in comic books: bringing supposedly dead characters back to life. This, of course, completely obliterates any drama around death. Rather, the reader will likely yawn and ask herself how long this time before the character comes back.
In The Avengers, Joss Whedon did it again, killing off a major character to better motivate the remaining heroes to come together. Painful, but forgivable. Less forgivable was bringing that character back to life in the TV series, Agents of Shield. From now on, any death in any Marvel Universe movie will be greeted by yawns, not tears.
If you use death, make it matter. Use the death to achieve a plot goal or to shake up readers’ expectations. And keep your characters dead once they’re dead. After all, you can only toy with your readers so long before they decide they don’t want to play any more.
While writing the latest installment of my serialized FanFiction novelette, a crossover of Firefly and Castle, it seemed a good time to ruminate on serial writing in general.
By all accounts, it was Charles Dickens who popularized the notion of serial writing. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, was published in monthly installments from April 1936 to November 1937. Installments of most of his other novels were also published monthly; some were published weekly.
At the time, it was advantageous to publish serially for economic reasons. Books were expensive; by breaking a novel into installments, readers could effectively amortize the cost over time. Dicken’s experiment was a success as Pickwick proved wildly popular, and numerous other Victorian authors followed suit.
Times change, and although paperbacks seem expensive these days, they provide good value; at roughly the same price as a movie ticket, they provide many more hours of entertainment.
So, if money is no longer a factor (and there are readily accessible public libraries if it is), are there other reasons to serialize a story? Here’s one: to get early feedback from readers before the entire story is cast in concrete. Suppose, for example, a given supporting character excites a lot of comments. You might be inclined to expand that character’s role in later installments. In the case of Pickwick, Dickens did just that after the introduction of Sam Weller. In the case of non-commercial fiction, you can simply abandon the project if it appears to be a dud. Life is too short, and there are too many stories to be told.
We are already used to many forms of serial media. Television shows may have season-long (or longer) story arcs. It may take two, three, or more movies (pick your franchise) to tell a complete story. Then consider the numerous online comic strips with long story arcs. For example, followers of the Writing Excuses podcast will be familiar with Schlock Mercenary. With all that in mind, a serialized novel doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. And after all, people are busy; a serialized novel can seem more palatable in that it provides smaller chunks that are easier to digest.
Serialized commercial novels are relatively rare these days, but they’re not dead. The latest novel in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe, The Human Division, was published in weekly installments in ebook form. The complete novel was later published in book form along with original material that was not previously published. Naturally, Scalzi’s ebook readers weren’t pleased that the novel contained new material. Would they have to pay all over again for the book? It turns out not. The two “new” chapters were made available online. In fact, one of them had been available online for some time.
In the non-commercial world of FanFiction, I would guess that most stories are published in installments of a few hundred words or more. FanFic authors have day jobs. Or day classes, depending. Still, writing FanFiction in installments has its pluses and minuses. Among the pluses, as discussed earlier, is the possibility of early feedback. If you lack confidence in your writing, early, positive reviews can be very encouraging. You also get a sense of accomplishment as you see the posted chapters pile up. At fanfiction.net, you can receive an email each time a new chapter is posted, making it easy for readers to follow the story.
Another plus, this one specific to fanfiction.net, is that every time you add a new chapter, your story bubbles up to the top of the list. So really, it is a very effective way to attract new readers that may not have noticed an earlier chapter.
On the down side, serialized stories may be less effective if you’re a slow writer. That’s me. When I’m writing a story in installments, I’ve aimed for roughly a chapter a week in the past. This time around, it seems to be taking a couple of weeks. Hopefully my readers won’t forget what’s come before. In Peter Ackroyd’s mammoth biography of Charles Dickens, he recounts a scene in which Dickens, while in a bookshop, hears someone enquire of the shopkeeper whether the next installment of Dicken’s novel is available yet. Dickens gulped. He hadn’t started writing it. So, while your story is in progress, you do feel some pressure to release your installments on schedule.
Another danger of serial writing is the potential need to summon Captain Jack Harkness to retcon your readers if you discover a hole that can only be filled by adding or changing material in an earlier chapter. This hasn’t happened to me, at least not yet. You can reduce this risk by outlining before you start, but you can’t eliminate it.
As with many other things, serial writing is a tool. You can either experiment with it, or keep it safely tucked away just in case. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to forever neglect the shiny tools in my toolbox.
As I’ve been offline for a while, a bunch of random thoughts have bubbled to the surface. So, onward.
Give Godzilla a miss, or at least wait for it to show up on Netflix. You’ll thank me.
The next 50 years of Doctor Who start in August. While it was probably wise to have a hiatus after the madness of last year, still, one does go through withdrawal after a while.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is well worth seeing. (Minor spoilers ahead.) It strives valiantly to tidy up a number of messy plot threads from the other X-Men movies and succeeds for the most part. It features an unbelievably strong cast, some of whom are limited to little more than cameos. Most importantly, it wipes the travesty that was X-Men 3 off the map.
I’m starting to wonder: Is it any less work to world build for a short story than a novel? I suspect not. Developing the backstory for my original fantasy story, an urban fantasy but with elements of classic mythology, has been a fascinating experience.
Next up on my fanfic list is a sequel to the Firefly/Castle crossover, “A Firefly in the Castle”. This one will be called “Castle Serenity”. And yes, this time Castle and Beckett travel to the future.
I recently spent a night in Philadelphia due to a missed connection. A few people expressed disbelief that I neglected to take full advantage of the layover by not sampling a Philly cheesesteak. Will correct that next time.
The same junket that stranded me in Philadelphia also netted an opportunity to meet Mary Robinette Kowal in San Diego at a book signing. It was quite a treat as I believe she’s the first professional author that I’ve met. And not only does she write very well, she has a rich, multifaceted voice that’s a joy to listen to. It’s a voice that serves her well in her other profession as puppeteer. She also reads audio books.
On the topic of books, I find myself going back to re-read old favourites, mixing them in between new publications. The current old book may take a while, Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby. Not just because it’s long, but because I read Dickens very slowly, savouring each beautiful phrase. Ah, to write like that…