Doctor Who Magazine 397: Bang On Target

I have two features in the new issue of DWM, out today, and am probably happier with them than anything else I've written for the magazine.

The first thing is a sizeable chat with Steven Moffat. I conducted two interviews with the man, six months apart. The first was when his two-parter Silence In The Library and Forest Of The Dead existed only as 20 pages on his PC, and a load of mad stuff in his head. The second was after the episodes had been shot, and were being edited. The result is hopefully a real insight into how something like this comes together, and the hundreds of choices involved along the way.

I've also tried to delve into Moffat's mind and find out what makes him tick as a writer and a person. I know I say this every couple of months, but DWM makes a great read for writers, whether they like Doctor Who or not, because the show itself is so writer-friendly and literally writer-led. If you get to read the interview, I think you'll be surprised by Moffat's insecurities, given that he's generally seen as pretty self-assured. In short: he has much the same insecurities as the rest of us. It's universal. Which is reassuring.

Some sample quotes...

"If I say an idea out loud, it might spoil the magic. If people are underwhelmed, you can lose faith in it."

"There isn't a single script when I'm not at some point sick-makingly terrified of my inability to write it."

"Not killing anyone wasn't a gameplan and it can't continue! I've really got to kill some people!"

I should point out, of course, that Moffat was talking about the fictional realm with that last quote.

My second feature in the mag is all about Turn Left, the episode which aired last Saturday. Because the story is a Sliding Doors-esque affair, all about decisions, I've written the feature in the style of an old Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy gamebook. You are the DWM journalist, visiting the Turn Left set in December 2007, making choices as to how to go about it - which questions to ask who, etc.

It was a total bitch to write. I had to design a large flow chart affair, detailing the various possibilities and paths to follow. And just to make things harder for myself, I decided that I wanted it to consist of a neat, round number of paragraphs - 50 to be precise. Sweet Jesus. But I loved every darn minute of it.

My contributions aside, this is a fine, fine issue. Not least because every copy comes complete with a free Doctor Who Target novel. These beauties are eternally linked to my childhood - just a glance at those brilliantly illustrated covers takes me right back.

Have a gander at these bad boys...

And, indeed, these...

Joy. Sheer joy.


William Gallagher said...

Oh, wow, those covers take me back.

Er, and all your stuff's very good, obviously. But back to the books...

I was already sold, by the way: I'll be buying this issue for the Moffat interview.

But which book, O Lord, which book? Actually... I wonder if I've still got David Whitaker's novel of the first Who? I fancy reading that now.


Piers said...

Ian Chesterton - Rocket Scientist!

Michael said...

Jason, that Turn Left feature was terrific. I can only imagine how difficult it was to create. Mind you, deduct 5 points for not accompanying it with disturbing, K9-heavy Gail Bennett illustrations.