Friday, 23 October 2009
Friday. Went to John Lewis’ on Oxford Street, not to spend wedding vouchers, but simply to look at things we might spend wedding vouchers on one day. It’s a massive department store, and possibly the most middle-class place in the entire universe. I think we were the youngest people there, apart from the girls on the make-up counters who were so thin you wouldn’t be able to see them if it wasn’t for all the concealer they were wearing.
Then popped in Forbidden Planet, to buy myself the Doctor Who comic novel The World Shapers. It’s all old strips from the 80’s as drawn by John Ridgway, and contains two marvellous stories I love dearly; Time Bomb and The Gift. Plus the rather under-rated Profits Of Doom! and Nature Of The Beast.
In the evening, went to Greenwich as SG was giving a talk on how to come up with Doctor Who stories, and as I’ve got a bit stuck with a thing I’m working on I thought it might help crack the block. I’m not sure I agree on his approach – starting with the monsters, using New Scientist stories for inspiration – I’d say you start with a situation, ideally one which taps into primal childhood fears, and the ‘monsters’ merely arise from an attempt to shape that childhood fear into some sort of narrative device. But what do I know. The other point is, of course, that it’s very rare to be given a blank slate, normally you’re working to a brief of like-this-but-not-this or not-like-this-but-this and you’re trying to find logical, dramatic, or amusing ways of doing whatever it is the guy with the money wants you to do, with the story being reverse-engineered as you spot holes in your plot and try to paper over them.