The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Do You Remember The First Time?

Couple of brief ‘heads-up’ type things.

There’s an interview with yours truly in the latest issue of Vortex, the Big Finish freebie magazine, available both virtually online and physically with purchase of recent things. I’m asked questions about this month’s Doctor Who: Companion Chronicles audio, Tales From The Vault, and I do my best to answer them with both wit and insight.

It’s odd, being interviewed. I mean, I’ve barely been interviewed a dozen times, and already there are moments when I feel like Terrance Dicks or Douglas Adams, not in a literary achievement sense, but in a I-can’t-remember-any-of-the-details-but-I-can-remember-the-answer-I-gave-last-time sense. I can barely remember the writing of Tales From The Vault, which was last year sometime, and when I get asked about Bloodtide or Flip-Flop it’s like I’m answering questions on behalf of someone else and guessing at their intent. At least with the recent stuff I still have the email paper trails and files of early drafts and synopses.

I remember reading or hearing an interview with Terry Pratchett where he said that, when he delivered the final draft of each of his books to his publisher, he’d then go back and delete all the earlier drafts from his computer. ‘Bugger posterity’. I’m far too much of a compulsive hoarder to do that but I think the process he describes is analogous to what goes on mentally; when you’ve finished a job, you use the same bit of headspace for the next job and end up recording over it. And like all memories, if you don’t revisit them, they fade, and ifyou do revisit them, you fictionalise them.

I should also plug the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine. It’s a special issue in tribute to Brigadier Nicholas Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart Courtney, affectionately known as the Brig, and includes a wonderful article about him by Nick Pegg, plus some perspicacious reviews by Gary Gillatt and Graham Kibble-Wight. So my contribution to the issue, part two of the comic strip story Apotheosis, is rather overshadowed. Which is a shame, it features some glorious artwork by Dan McDaid and is the first issue where all the bits of this incredibly convoluted ‘arc’ I’ve built up start coming together for the next, epic, four-part season finale (and the last story of my ‘run’). I invite readers to go back and check out the earlier stories. The clues were there.

As it is a Nicholas Courtney tribute issue, some people have asked why there wasn’t a Brig tribute comic strip, with the eleventh Doctor meeting the Brigadier. Well, it’s a lovely idea, but these things are all planned out and locked down months and months in advance, and I think the earlier story The Warkeeper’s Crown has already had pretty much the definitive last word, with the tenth Doctor saying goodbye to the Brigadier, and I don’t think any other story could follow that. Maybe another writer will come up with something, but I’m wary of going down that path for fear of being maudlin; there are so many people deserving of tributes I wouldn’t want to have to decide where to draw the line.