Ten Doctors, Rose Tyler, and an adventure that spans the eras. Throw in some explosive goodness from one Nitro-Nine expert companion, and you've got the basic plot behind one of the most well-known fan fics in Who-dom. Our featured author of the week burst onto the scene with her fabulous multi-doctor story 'Facets' which expanded into a universe of its own. Not only has padawanpooh written Facets, but she's also a prolific drabble writer of Seventh Doctor and Ace stories. So, what is it that drives her to write? What is it about Doctor Who that inspires her? Let's find out...
Tell us ten facts about yourself.
Okay 5 ‘Who-y’ and 5 ‘Non Who-y’...
(1) I’ve been a Whovian for exactly 2/3s of my life.
(2) I dressed up as a gay dalek at a science fiction convention once (using pink toilet paper – don’t ask!)
(3) One of the first books I remember reading was Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons when I was about ten.
(4) I have never met Sophie Aldred, even though Ace was my childhood hero, although I have narrowly missed meeting her about four times.
(5) I introduced some Americans who had never heard of Doctor Who to Doctorin’ The Tardis by The Timelords in the backend of Hong Kong on my walkman many years ago. They looked at me very strangely.
(6) My first job was on the till in Woolworths when I was fifteen. I loved it so much on the first day I remember asking for a longer shift…
(7) I’m 5’ 8”, the same height as my Dad (and the same shoe size)
(8) I met my hubby through our university’s science fiction society just on ten years ago.
(9) I’ve made about a dozen trips to Poland, starting in 1994. My first Polish word was ‘lody’ (ice cream) and my favourite is ‘pasta do zebow’ (pronounced zemboof) which means ‘toothpaste’.
(10) I can name all seven of the Seven Dwarfs (Happy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Bashful Sneezy and Grumpy…tad a!)
What seduced you to the show in the first place?
The adventure. I went through a very rough period in my life back in 1987 when I first saw the show. It made me smile again and encouraged me to dream.
What made you start writing Doctor Who fanfic?
The new series. I read as much fanfic as I could to see what genres were emerging for the new series, and what fans enjoyed reading and then I started dabbling in drabble writing to get a feel of the characters. What really pushed me to write the Facetsverse was realising that a lot of fans coming to Doctor Who fresh with the new series hadn’t had a chance to discover the classic show – and there are *decades* of stories and mythology to get to grips with. It can be extremely daunting. Being familiar with old and new I wanted to offer new fans an accessible introduction to all of the Doctors but through the lens of the wonderfully authentic character development that Russell T Davies and all of his writers have brought to the show. Hence sending Rose back to meet everybody.
Do you think writing for Doctor Who has added anything to your writing style or made you try things you wouldn't otherwise have?
Absolutely! I had never written anything more longer than a couple of thousand words before, for a TV series called Legend (1995) and that had been a very ‘niche’ show with a tiny fandom. I wrote those stories very visually – like TV episodes. Doctor Who is so rich in history that I felt spoilt for choice for inspiration, and once I’d figured out a rough structure I felt the story wrote itself! I would never have believed I could write a fifty thousand odd word story before that. I had never really written internal thought processes before either, but I knew it was something I wanted to try and needed to work on to develop as a writer.
The BBC volunteers to make an episode out of just one of your fics. Which would you like it to be?
The original Facets. It’s the story I’m proudest of, and the one that I wrote as a love letter to the whole show.
Tell us a bit about the process of writing a fanfic for you.
A lot of my writing ideas come when I’m walking: I often walk to and from work which is about 1 ½ miles away and that gives me a lot of thinking time. A lot of my ideas have also come from prompts, either deliberate, such as the weekly challenges on DW100, or throwaway comments: Facets was indirectly inspired by a moderator’s comment on Time and Chips when she stated stories featuring the Rose and any Doctor, if you could make it fit, would be welcome. A drabble featuring Sherlock Holmes came about after a comment on another board saying a story however tenuously linked to the Doctor, such as someone finding his footprint, would be OK. So I built a story around Holmes finding the Doctor’s footprint at a crime scene…
As for writing itself, I just sit at the keyboard and *write*. I just let the words pour out and then go back and edit. You can’t produce something decent without raw material, so I try to produce as much raw material as I can.
What do you think you as a writer add to a fic that makes it distinctly yours?
I write very visually. I can usually see a scene in my mind’s eye as I write. And I have a very daft sense of humour (as can be seen from my avatar).
What's your most embarassing moment in Doctor Who fandom?
Realising I had written Nine say “I’m only human.” *cringe*
Which character comes easiest for you to write and why do you think that is?
Ace. She was my childhood hero! I started watching Doctor Who when she joined the series back in 1987 (when I was 11 so you can do the maths if you wish!). I started saying ‘ace’ and ‘wicked’ and even made a coat covered in badges!
And which character drives you to get out the alcohol and bash your head against the keyboard when trying to write?
Mickey. I just *can’t* write him! With Rose and the Doctor(s) I can ‘see’ and ‘hear’ them as I write. Can’t do that for Mickey, at least not yet. Hopefully now that he is more of a part of the series and is developing so well as a character that will start to change.
What's the best Doctor Who fic you haven't yet written?
The one where Ace and Rose get thrown together and end up sorting out a catastrophic disaster without the Doctor’s help. I like writing them together.
Where's a good place to find your writing for the unaware?
All my Doctor Who stuff is up at The Teaspoon (www.whofic.com).
This space is yours. What would you like to say?
The best advice I ever heard to encourage creativity was an anecdote Robert Rodriguez told on the Spy Kids 2 soundtrack: if you want to
write/draw/whatever just start doing it. Produce as much material as you can. A lot of it will be rubbish but there will be some glimmers of quality in there. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the agonies of planning/plotting, Just start producing stuff and see where it takes you.
Finally, we'll know to take away your keyboard the day you write...?
“Carolyn, an auburn headed eighteen year old with piercing violet eyes and a sombre stare was walking down the road to work one day when she saw a strange blue box materialise in her path…”