Graeme

Writer's Blog

A place where I write about the writing life and writing projects in progress
 

February 28, 2011

  • Best blog entry about grammar, ever…
  • Finally. Someone has posted 10 Grammar Rules You Can (and Should!) Ignore...

    I break the “don’t use ‘and’ at the start of a sentence” rule all the time. Probably too much. It’s now at the point where when writing anything with English language fetishist Robert Smith?, I allow myself an allotment of 1-2 “ands” in a piece and if I go over that, I change them for fear of Dr. Smith? and his terrible Australian wrath…

    In general though, I agree with the breaking of all these rules. As the author of the piece, Tracy O’Connor, points out, “The purpose of grammar is to produce writing that is easy for the reader to understand, not to make writers sweat. Feel free to bend or break any of the rules if it makes your writing more appealing, or for stylistic effect.” Amen to that.

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    February 23, 2011

  • Who Is The Doctor
  • imageMy regular collaborator Robert Smith? and myself had a great time at Gallifrey One in Los Angeles, where we previewed the upcoming Time Unincorporated Volume 3 at a great panel with a number of contributors present, signed some autographs, spoke with enthusiastic readers, progressed a couple of other projects (on which more later) and generally got up to our usual sort of trouble.

    One of the things we also did at Gallifrey—and if you blinked, you probably missed it—was announce our next big project. Robert and I are now hard at work writing Who Is The Doctor: An Unofficial Guide to Doctor Who, an episode guide to the new series that will be published by ECW Press in Spring 2012.

    imageThis is a detailed but throughly accessible episode guide to New Who (up to, and including, the upcoming series 6), written in the vein of two Classic Who guides we loved from the 1990s, The Discontinuity Guide and The Handbooks. It’s written with the intent to bring a more populist, fun approach to the Who episode guide. At the same time, there’s plenty of the analysis that has made our other Doctor Who work popular. Robert and I are quite clear we want to write something that will appeal to both hardcore fans and newbies alike, and we hope we’re succeeding in that task.

    It feels weird to be announcing something that has become a big part of my writing life right now. Nonetheless, Robert and I are very excited to be working with ECW Press, a Canadian publisher who produces all sorts of great books ranging from fiction to biography to TV reference guides (Robert and my friend Scott are big fans of Nikki Stafford’s Finding Lost guides to Lost). We have to deliver most of the book this June (with the rest of Series 6 to follow in the fall) and it will be published the following spring.

    More details about this book will emerge in future and, who knows, I may post a few things about the process of writing an episode guide as well!

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    February 15, 2011

  • Conventional Thinking
  • image

    imageAnother first for me: I’m an actual guest at a Doctor Who convention, namely the world’s largest Doctor Who convention, Gallifrey One which takes place this weekend in Los Angeles. OK, I’m a very, very minor guest in a con with a metric kagillion of them. (I’m listed in very small print alongside the “Doctor Who genre writers”). And yet, at the same time, I’m extremely flattered and honoured to be among their ranks. Gallifrey is my favourite Doctor Who convention, and I never thought I’d ever see the day where I wound up on the bill as a guest.

    The chief thing that I get to do as a guest is take part in a panel (with my co-editor Robert Smith?, Mad Norwegian publisher Lars Pearson and a number of contributors) to launch Time Unincorporated Volume 3. True, the book won’t be out til late spring, but it was an enomomously nice and touching gesture on the part of Gallifrey Convention Supremo (and extraordinarily good looking man) Shaun Lyon to still have a launch panel for the book. Given the people taking part (which includes Christa Dickson, Jon Arnold, Arnold T Blumberg, Paul Castle, Tammy Garrison, Terrence Keenan, Deborah Stanish and Lynne Thomas) it should be a fun time. If you’re there, come on out—it’s Saturday at 11am.

    My convention schedule (in case you’re wondering) goes something like this:

    • Tennant, Beloved Fri 18 Feb 4:30 PM
    • Time Unincorporated 3 Launch Sat 19 Feb 11:00 AM
    • Deconstructing Matt (Smith)  Sat 19 Feb 12:00 PM
    • Kaffeeklatsch Sat 19 Feb 3:00 PM
    • Autographs: Saturday Session 3   Sat 19 Feb 4:30 PM
    • Autographs: Sunday Session 1   Sun 20 Feb 1:30 PM
    • Are You Being Entertained?  Sun 20 Feb 4:30 PM

    So if you want to see me in my traditional habitation, the convention panel, there’s lots of opportunity to see me in action. If you are coming to LA to Gallifrey this weekend, do stop by and say hello!

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    February 10, 2011

  • Podshocked
  • imageAs I mentioned earlier this week, my collaborator Robert Smith? and myself were interviewed by Louis Trapini and Ken Deep of the popular Doctor Who podcast Podshock. That Podshock interview is in their latest episode (#237), which is available on the Gallifreyan Embassy website. Robert and I discuss the Time, Unincorporated books, fan culture, and the evolution of fandom with the new series. It’s uber-nerdy but Louis and Ken are great at creating an environment that allows for in-depth answers and time to discuss something in a thorough manner, so kudos to them.

    As ever, listening to one’s self is a nerve-wracking experience, but I think Robert and I acquit ourselves well. Podshock and Radio Free Skaro are my two favourite podcasts in the Doctor Who world, so it was a real honour to be interviewed by them. Hope you enjoy it!

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    February 09, 2011

  • Work in Progress
  • image

    Here you get to see how the magic happens on an upcoming project which I’ll tell you all about soon. Following my preferred method of writing, this is my handwritten first draft, written, naturally, at a Starbucks. It was straightened out considerably when I typed it up (I also remembered then I was thinking of Paul Newman and not Charlton Heston).

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    February 07, 2011

  • Coming Soon…
  • I haven’t posted a lot here lately (not that I post here much anyway…). That will change though. Expect some announcements of some upcoming projects soon. Exciting days ahead! Honest! Really!

    My frequent collaborator Robert Smith? and yours truly were recently interviewed by the Doctor Who podcast, Podshock for an upcoming show. It was a fun, wide-ranging and very geeky interview about the evolving nature of Doctor Who fandom and our work on the Time, Unincorporated books. I’ll let you know when it’s webcast as well!

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    February 03, 2011

  • The Greatest Script That Never Was
  • If someone asked me, just based on reading the script, what my favourite screenplay was, I would say, almost without hesitation, the script for The Avengers by Don Macpherson.

    Most people would probably roll their eyes at this point because they remember the finished product that turned out to be this blight on filmmaking in the year 1998:

    image

    Which in spite of being a disjointed mess, I remember at the time liking it a lot more than most of my friends (though a lot of my regard for it fell apart two minutes after walking out of the cinema).

    But what’s heartbreaking is that the original script is wonderful. It’s everything a script for a film of The Avengers should be: visually stunning, witty, charming and surprisingly close to the formula of the TV series at the same time.

    It’s completely lost in subsequent drafts which decided to favour Sean Connery’s character (presumably due to his involvement; he helped louse up the adaptation of The League of Extrordinary Gentlemen that way too) and then in the panicked, let’s-cut-it-down-to-a-really-short-running-time edit of the actual film (I gather the original cut isn’t quite so bad…not that they’ve ever released it on DVD).

    But the thing about the original draft script is that Macpherson is a gorgeous writer—his prose is imagistic and striking and his dialogue is really witty. It is one of my very favourite scripts just in written form.

    As LeVar Burton used to say on Reading Rainbow, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can read the original script here.

    If I ever win the lottery, I swear I’m going to buy the rights to The Avengers and Macpherson’s original draft and make it the way it should have been done. It’s proof of how terrible the Hollywood machine can be.

    (Just for the record, Aaron Sorkin’s script for The American President would probably be a close second).

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