Category Archives: plotting

More Doctor Who

So amid all the upcoming sport, yes I am thrilled to bits that the seventh series will begin soon; BBC in Britain and in America will show the first episode on 1 September, and I can’t WAIT!  I’m not a big Dalek fan, the subject of the first show.  What I care about is Amy and Rory.

Yes, I am a HUGE Mr and Mrs Pond fan, probably my fave companions, although Rose Tyler was very good, with either Doctor.  What I love about Amy and Rory is that it isn’t Amy, Rory, and The Doctor.  It’s just this young couple who hold onto each other regardless of vampires that are really aliens, other aliens, and death.  Even death couldn’t keep Rory from Amy.

But what about those Weeping Angels, huh?

No spoilers on this blog, but that’s fair game, all over the web.  The Weeping Angels will have something to do with The Ponds’ departure, and this fan can’t wait to watch.  This writer can’t wait to see how Steven Moffat closes their tenure; some of the best writing I have ever encountered has been within Doctor Who.

I started watching before my writing commenced, so at first I viewed just with wide American eyes.  Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor was shadowy, a little scary, as were “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances”, episodes perfectly frightening, terrifically British.  Wonderfully Eccleston, and there isn’t enough time to note all of David Tennant’s contributions, except to say the end of “Doomsday” is one of the most brilliant moments in TV (IMHO).  Will Amy and Rory top that?

As a writer, good grief, I am just gobsmacked!  The end of “The Big Bang”: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…  The author in me wished to create something so succinctly plotted, so touching, heartbreaking.  Currently I’m prepping the last three novels of a series for release this autumn.  The last book, while not quite on par with Doctor Who, does wrap up several stories with some pretty crafty twists.  But still, I am stunned with most of the Doctor Who episodes.  This past season was okay in working through the River Song arc, but the previous season, Amy and Rory’s first, was so sharp.  And take it from this writer, that is not easy to do.

There’s foreshadowing, moving the tale along, ratcheting up the action.  Unwinding each story-line just enough to make the reader (or viewer) crazy to know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.  That is key.  The audience has to be dying to see the next show, read the next chapter.  Willing to hunt high and low for any hint to The Ponds’ future.

In my own work, one cast has lingered through six books since 2009.  By the end of this year, their stories will be concluded, maybe around the same time Amy and Rory head off to companion sunset.  I didn’t plan it this way, but can’t miss the parallels, also the significance of connecting with one’s audience.  Be they readers or viewers, hearts must be captured.  Daleks have nothing on The Doctor when conquering others, but we won’t tell them that.  They think they’re pretty superior, Exterminate and all that.  But it’s the human element that matters, whether in sci-fi or family saga.  I love Amy and Rory.  I hope they live happily ever after.

(But if they don’t, I won’t be surprised.)

The dark side

This has nothing to do with Star Wars.  This has to do with how my novels with a political bent end up being darker than other ones.

But maybe it does have to do with science fiction; one of my favorite TV shows is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  Plenty of political shenanigans in that seven-year series, especially once the war between the Federation and the Dominion began.  During that show’s last four years, an array of good, bad, questionable, and memorable characters were spun into various tizzies by a cadre of writers that always make me reach for a higher bar.  Granted, not every show was gold, but many were fantastic, especially the six-episode arc starting season six.  I could wax all day on that; instead if you like sci-fi drama with a political edge, give Deep Space Nine a go.

As for my books, well, they’re angsty as all get-out, but for the most part, folks end up fairly settled.  But in For God and Country and The War On Emily Dickinson, characters’ hearts are wrenched with little satisfying bliss in between.  The WIP is the same; today some good news emerged, but bad slapped it down.  And not giving too much away, the main characters are going to suffer, just a few finding the sun.

I’m not a doom and gloom type, maybe it’s just my drama-fueled plots, a dark side emerging safely within fictional confines.  Better to take my inner demons out on those who can’t actually be harmed.  But in realizing this, I have to wonder what does it mean?  The next novel I want to write, for November’s NaNo, has a political edge, but at least for today, the ending will be upbeat.  Maybe that it’s a family saga-sort of story is why.  Politics often brings out unpleasant attributes; in the WIP, Premiere Hanley is a twisted SOB.  Deep Space Nine’s Gul Dukat is an awful guy too, and what about Darth Vadar?  Or Emperor Palpatine, now he’s a nasty dude.  I’ll chalk it up to satisfying some deep-seated desire to kick some legislative butt.

Nobody said it was easy

I’m in the midst of cramming for the next novel.  Sometimes an idea slams like a brick upside the head, nothing to be done but follow where the plot leads.  Two months ago I got Heroes, the new Willie Nelson album; I have no other Willie Nelson songs except “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” and his duet with Waylon Jennings, “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”.  But something compelled me to add Heroes to the plethora of tunes.  Now of those songs are on the OST for Splitting the Sky, including “The Scientist”, Willie’s cover of Coldplay’s hit.

I have a list of names; this is a sci-fi tale, so Bob, Jane, John and Sue just don’t cut it.  But I need to place monikers with characters, and as I’m starting this novel for Camp NaNoWriMo in three days…  But as Willie sings, nobody said this was easy.