Piano: A Doctor Who Fanfic

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I just suppose I needed to excise my Doctor Who music headcanons.

(Basically, that Ten is the musician of all the reboot Doctors–and a whole separate sub-theory about how the pinstripes look like a musical staff. Which is COMPLETELY far-fetched. Anyway!)

Just listen to this and imagine that the Doctor is playing a totally piano version of it and it’ll be awesome. ;-)

(Also, Gallifreyan music often sounds discordant to humans because it’s got so many more melodies incorporated and there’s so much going on. But the Doctor often just plays Earth music when there are companions around because, hey, even if it’s a bit simple for him he likes it too.)


Piano

                Rose watched as the Doctor’s hands flew over the keyboard, playing a precise series of notes like a cascade of glass drops hanging in the still air. His look of concentration was mirrored in the perfect black finish. The music was deep and powerful, like a force of nature.

“You’re doing all that… by memory?” she whispered in awe. The Doctor shrugged, playing three passionate chords and carrying on with the piece. “That’s incredible.”

“One of the perks of having an eidetic memory,” the Doctor murmured, continuing to play.

“How are you doing that with just two hands?” Rose asked.

“It’s… hard to explain.”

“Could you teach me?” Rose asked eagerly. The Doctor glanced up at her.

“You won’t be able to play like this—not at first,” he warned. Rose shrugged.

“Practice, I know, but any amount of time to be able to play like that… Half that well,” she said. “That’s worth it.” The Doctor grinned and slid over on the piano bench, making space for her.

“Now, keep your wrists up, but relaxed, and your fingers curved,” he directed. Taking her flat hand, he pressed her fingers on the keys. The piano made an indignant, discordant donk! Rose giggled. Then the Doctor gently formed her fingers into a graceful arch and pressed them down again. The piano went plonk! again. “See how much more force you have to use when your fingers are flat? You’re stronger when you keep a natural curve to them. Don’t play with your hands flat—it’s a waste of time and energy, and it’ll tire your wrists out in no time flat.” Rose laid her hands on the keyboard, but her wrists seemed to have another idea—the moment she tried to press down on the keys, her wrists caved in. “Here.” The Doctor took Rose’s wrists gently, supporting them. “You’ll build up your wrist strength with time,” he said encouragingly. “Now, press the white keys, one after another. Don’t stop until you’ve played right back to the beginning.”

“What does that mean?” Rose asked, frowning. The Doctor grinned like a little kid.

“You’ll figure it out,” he said. Obediently, Rose started to press the keys he indicated, stopping eight notes later. The Doctor smiled. “Exactly right. That’s a scale, C major. Whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, whole step, and right back to C, an octave higher. Think of whole steps as a sort of measurement of a tone’s pitch.”

“And half steps are just half that size,” Rose said.

“Right. We’ll stick with C major at first. No need to bother with the black keys just yet—those’re the other half steps. This is a major chord—your basic chord.” He pressed three keys in unison. “This is a seven chord—it’s got a bit of discord but never mind that, whenever you use it it’ll be resolved into a major chord, nine times out of ten.” He guided her hands to the right keys, pressing down the chords.


Rose and the Doctor sat down at the piano, and she began to play a simple melody. The Doctor’s hands darted around hers, playing an intricate and powerful cascade of notes, and they wrote their own song, just as they always did.

Turn, Turn, Turn: A Doctor Who Nursery Rhyme

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Seeing that Time Lord culture is going to be so based on time and motion in the context of time, I thought this up, mostly during astronomy class. Basically, I was thinking about how the universe turns within itself: The Earth circles the Sun, the Moon circles the Earth, the whole Solar System circles the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, the Milky Way circles with other galaxies, and the whole universe spreads outwards into space… And it kind of made me think. While the whole clock/clockwork/pocket watch sort of steampunky aesthetic works very well in context, I thought that the order we see in the universe and the constant motion of heavenly bodies around their manifold centers would probably also figure very strongly in Time Lord culture, which might also explain why they also are so fixated on order, and that would come across very strongly, even in their nursery rhymes–a sort of indoctrination, if you will, if we’re thinking about the darker side of Gallifrey. Also, a sphere is an incredibly beautiful and quintessential form, and spheres within spheres, don’t even get me started.

ANYWHEN! So basically, this is what I came up with. I hope you all enjoy it!


Turn, Turn, Turn

Turn, turn, turn away,

Each moves within its whirling wheel,

All the spheres come out to play,

All the perfect moments steal.


Order rules both time and space,

As within their worlds we roam,

Every atom has its place,

Every second has its home.


Wanderers that feel the turning,

Crossing on from sphere to sphere

Underneath each new sun’s burning

Wanderers that travel here.


Music, laughter, joy and pain,

Hope and love and shivering fear,

The years turn round the worlds again,

And everything moves in its sphere.


First the sun shines on the plains,

Sweet life within the nave of day,

And then the moon comes once again,

So turn, and turn, and turn, away.


Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Accidents Happen

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So.

Um…

This happened.

Because even Time Lords have their off days. (Also, more Jack and Martha silliness. -_-)

Also, you should probably expect more gossip-obsessed Jack in the very near future, because it’s canon now. Sorry-not-sorry.


Accidents Happen

                “You kicked the Master in the jaw?!”

“I was panicking, all right?”

The voices rose louder and louder. Jack looked up from his gossip magazine and grinned. They were at it again.

“I can’t believe you kicked the Master. In the jaw.”

“So what if I have long legs?!”

Jack laughed into the sleeve of his trusty old coat. They were just about getting to his favorite part.

“You kicked the Master. In the jaw.”

Silence.

“You kicked the Master in the face?! What about the ‘I’m the last Time Lord, he’s my responsibility’ line?”

Martha.

Jack snickered into the announcement that Vickie Whatserface had gotten engaged. He didn’t particularly care about half the gossip in the magazine, but the magazines had become an addiction. Thanks a lot, Lottie-at-Torchwood.

“I panicked, okay? I do stupid things when I panic! Humans do stupid things when they panic, too, don’t they?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Martha said in her not-quite-serious voice. She couldn’t contain her laughter any longer and burst out into a fit of giggles.

“What?” More giggles from Martha.

“What? Seriously, what?

Martha said at last, still giggling, “You saved the world in a panic.”

“I do it on adrenaline half the time. Your point?”

“Panic whenever you want, Mister,” Martha said, obviously grinning. “This old planet isn’t going any place.”

Vengeance

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VENGEANCE IS MINE! *laughs crazily*

No, I’m just kidding.

I have no explanation for this, except that Jack Harkness is the epitome of inappropriateness.

Vengeance

                Martha sat down heavily on the couch by the TARDIS console, and the living ship made a small, gentle, comforting sound. Martha sighed. She was on the very verge of falling asleep and she welcomed that, especially the relaxed lethargy.

Suddenly, her peaceful time was broken into by a bloodcurdling cacophony of screams, cursing, and wild laughter. Martha sat bolt upright as Jack appeared with the Doctor hot on his heels, laughing madly and brandishing a bar of soap. Jack saw Martha and dived behind the chair. “Save me, Martha! He’s gone crazy!” The Doctor advanced, a manic light in his eye, tossing the soap from hand to hand. Martha rolled her eyes. Boys and their games.

“I’m going to wash your mouth out, Jack!” the Doctor said ominously, but Martha saw the mischievous twinkle in his eye and relaxed.

“Go ahead and play, kids,” she said, closing her eyes again. “Just remember, Doctor, humans are fragile. Don’t go breaking them by accident.”

Jack, who was breathing hard despite his apparent immortality and being in perfect shape, gave an unmanly squawk and made a dash for it, but the Doctor was too quick for him. “I told you! First day. No flirting, no dirty talk, and no un-called-for snogging! Especially not me!”

The sounds of the scuffle died away into the distance as Martha closed her eyes in a well-earned nap.

Emotional Impact Guidelines

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A while back, someone asked me how I could pack so much emotional punch into my short stories. And just now, I found my response just lying around, so I thought I’d share my secrets with all of you! ;-)

1) Keep it simple. Don’t get hung up on detail. Your characters are in psychological shock; they’re not going to notice EVERYTHING about the scene, unless they’re just that sort of person. That much said, grab a few small details for them to notice (such as a bird singing, or the fact that that poor little violet is singed.) That sort of thing makes an impact.

2) WORD CHOICE. This is perhaps the most important one. You want to pick the optimum words to slam the ultimatum your story is delivering home, packing a punch from the first word out. Keep your sentences short and as concise as possible, but don’t overdo it. (You can leave a reader gasping for breath with shorter sentences–they’ll read faster and faster, and when the scene’s over, they’ll be gasping for breath.)

3) You can show a character considering doing something that otherwise they wouldn’t probably do. (Like Natasha Romanoff, who isn’t exactly comfortable with religion, praying.)

4) The emotions of a character who would normally be considered emotionally strong, or an emotional center for other characters. (Steve Rogers is probably the strongest emotional center the Avengers have—everything he says and does impacts them strongly, and sometimes the other characters reflect his emotions. So when he’s impacted, everyone is.) If you show someone like Steve shaken to his or her core, then the audience will know that Something Very Bad is happening.

5) Create an illusion of “ringing in the ears.” You want the reader to experience what the characters are experiencing. I remember an episode of the Clone Wars where there was an explosion, and right afterward, there was an odd sort of ringing silence, like the bomb had done something to the audience’s ears, and the world seemed to be in slow motion. What it really was was a lack of clear detail, and a sense of blurriness, with a sort of stop-action movement… Basically, you’ve hit your head and now you’re seeing things move less as movement and more as a series of rough poses in progression… I don’t know how to put it any better.

I think that’s about it. Basically, take a character everyone cares about, and then show what they’re feeling. :-) Select one or two pieces of sensory data to focus on to imply shock. Good luck! ;-)

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Not-Quite-Teens-Can-Write-Too: First Thing I Wrote

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The prompt was “What was the first thing you wrote of your own free will?”

Simple answer: I started when I was nine, writing a compilation (it was not a novel, too haphazard) of Robin Hood stories. It was poorly written, with choppy transitions, and too pleased-with-itself, and the humor was just shoved in randomly, not integrated.

Nevertheless, I had some fun with it.

Rewriting it today, I would have done it from Will Scarlet’s point of view, left out extraneous material I’d thrown in, and done a lot more research. (Watching Doctor Who has made a good impression on me. At least in that respect.)

The second thing I started to write, when I was eleven, was a complex and dedicated effort at overhauling the young people’s side of the Star Wars mythos–namely, I wrote about a Padawan Learner (different one in each trilogy.) It was essentially Jedi Apprentice, but much more ambitious. (I was eleven, and already writing at an eighth grade level. That might be hard to believe, but if you ignore the poor quality of the content and the horrible, choppy, obvious dialogue, it’s true.) This story had no central arc, being merely a series of short adventures (mind you, I had not started watching TV shows back then, so I had no real idea of how to write a story which could stand alone but also played into a larger plot. Kudos to you, Bad Wolf.) The first of these stories, in the original trilogy, starred an OC–not a Mary Sue, I am proud to say, but still horribly awkward. (I am considering rewriting some of the adventures into a separate novel that has no Star Wars affiliation, because some of these characters would fit ironically well into a steampunk setting. I recently discovered that I love steampunk, and science fiction, especially science fiction that takes its science seriously. Such a treat!)

I started a third novel a few years later about a mythical country and a young woman who had been kidnapped. This is the story that would eventually teach me that less is more, because her backstory got painfully complicated very quickly. Rewriting it today, I would make her less of a victim and more of a dynamic character with something to actually bring to the table (maybe she likes making shoes? That would be useful to the rebels!), and make her actually a real, honest-to-goodness peasant who had just been raised by her aunt and uncle, rather than a noble in disguise. Self-made nobles are far more interesting than born ones in many cases.

After that, I began work on a different angle on the Arthurian legends, which spun off into a novel about Mordred–my Mordred is a bit more like Batman, only with some anti-hero thrown in, a temper, and a vulnerable side–he desperately wants to be accepted by Arthur’s court, but he wants to be accepted for who he is, not as Arthur’s long-lost (illegitimate) son, and his best friend, Gawaine, can never find out that Mordred is really his half-brother (Morgause, in this story, is Mordred’s mother, but he was raised by his aunt Morgan.) Of course, it gets a bit violent–Mordred gets angry with Morgan and walks out on her when he turns fifteen, and of course it was acrimonious. Mordred decides to change his fate and is totally loyal to Arthur (he explains to his confidant Lady Lynnette, who is married to one of his half-brothers and found out Mordred’s secret by accident, “I don’t think of him as my father. That would be weird. I think of him as my king.”) but ends up having to make the choice between saving Arthur and stopping Morgan. Add in a bit of a dark sense of humor and there you are.

It’s not always been an easy or comfortable journey (bits of it were positively embarrassing,) but I’ve been glad to go on it, if it means improvement. Allons-y!

Thanks to Rosalie for starting up this alternative blog chain. She might think it’s awkward, but she deserves lots of hugs. You can find the launching post here.

Vanilla

Sorry, WriteFury. I didn’t get that fanfiction crossover you requested done…

However, I did write something.

This was spurred on by a love of vanilla, listening to PianoGuys, and an appreciation of simple things.

Allons-y!


Vanilla

            It was one of those talks that they’d started before the Doctor regenerated (in this case, long before) and finished after.

“What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?” Rose asked suddenly, out of the blue. Unsurprised, the Doctor looked her over for a long moment before answering.

            “Vanilla,” he said. Rose smiled.

            “Of all the flavors in the universe… vanilla?”

            “Oi! Don’t knock it!” the Doctor protested. “When you’re as old as I am, you’ll appreciate vanilla too. What’s yours?”

            “Chocolate,” Rose said, licking her lips.

            “Well, it makes sense,” the Doctor said.

And that was the end of it, at the time.

Now, counting her blessings, Rose remembered this: The one place she remembered best, of all the alien places they had gone, and she remembered this one: a small café in Soho, but a café with the best milkshakes in the world. (Or so the Doctor had said.)

They walked up to the door, side by side and arm in arm, just a pair of friends out for a stroll. A tiny bell jingled as the door opened and closed again, and the waitress, a slim young Asian woman, greeted them with a smile. They obviously weren’t recognized, Rose thought, but it was clear that the Doctor, at least, had been here before. Glancing at him, she admitted to herself that he had changed.  A lot, she amended mentally.

            They sat down at a table with a bouquet of daffodils and violets set in a small, graceful vase and pansies embroidered on the table cloth. Rose ordered a grilled cheese, the Doctor ordered leek and potato soup, and when they finished their meal, the waitress brought over two milkshakes—one chocolate, the other vanilla.

            Rose grinned mischievously at the Doctor, who raised a finger in warning. “Don’t start.” He absentmindedly nudged the whipped cream on top with a spoon, dropping the cherry onto his discarded plate, and tasted his milk shake. Rose, still grinning, started in on hers. The Doctor suddenly smiled mischievously back at her and asked her to take a sip of water. Then he offered her a second straw, stuck into his milkshake. Rose laughed, convinced that he was just playing a practical joke on her, and accepted.

            The flavor that exploded in her mouth was unlike anything she had ever tasted before. Rich and complex, with hints of sweet spiciness, and completely lacking any of the sour or tart off-notes that she remembered as a part of the vanilla extract that Jackie had always used. Rose blinked in surprise. “Wow. What is that?”

            “Vanilla,” the Doctor said, smiling. “The ethanol they use to make the extract leaches all the goodness out of it. This comes straight from the bean; they simmer the beans gently in milk then scrape them, and this is what you get: straight vanilla, with just a touch of nutmeg. Do you like it?”

            “Oh my gosh,” Rose replied. The Doctor smiled, raised his milkshake, and clinked glasses with hers.

            “To lovely things in unexpected places.”

            “Absolutely,” Rose replied.

Please tell me what you think! ;-)

(Written to the PianoGuys’ versions of “Rolling in the Deep” and “O Fortuna.”)

Archivist of Selay’uu’s Journal: Summer, Day 49

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“Try the… thing!”

“I have tried it, Master Doctor!”

“Then try the other thing! I don’t know how it works! Just… poke it, I guess.”

“Why do you not use the mallet you do when your ship slips off course?”

“Why don’t you?”

“I fear I might accidentally demolish it if I did.”

“…touche.”

I opened the door to my room, only to find that it led not into the hallway, but into somewhere else. The Doctor was running circles around an object that could only be described as a Thing, while Thor was gingerly prodding it. It was shaking dramatically from side to side, glinting like a disco ball and buzzing ineffectually, like an annoyed insect.

“What’s going on?” I demanded. Thor looked up apologetically, while the Doctor opened his mouth irately and went off into a long rant or complaint (it didn’t sound much like an explanation) about rogue Time Lords, King Arthur’s second-best hat, a green-eyed basilisk, a carrot and a pigeon.*

“If you can’t get it to work,” I said practically, “and you don’t know what it is or what it does, why not just destroy it?”

On second thought, maybe not so practical–but I had had work (not the fun kind, the kind that brings in money and is miserable) and was in a vicious mood.

The Doctor opened his mouth and shut it again. “That just might work,” he said dubiously.

I looked around. “Also, why is my bedroom in the TARDIS?”

“I think the TARDIS likes you,” said Thor, bringing Mjolnir down on the Thing with a resounding clang. The Doctor muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “traitor”.

It also sounded like the TARDIS was laughing in the background.

We never did find out what the Thing was for.

It was probably a dummy and did not do anything. It is also likely that the Thing was constructed by the Master (who we put in a looney bin) as a chew toy. Or a cuddle beastie.

Who knows?

(It was a very confusing day.)


*Please don’t ask me to tell you how those particular objects are related. One: I am not Steven Moffat. Two: I doubt even Steven Moffat can understand the Doctor when he starts babbling like that. Three: I also doubt that even Steven Moffat can explain the “three things and a lizard” comment, so you should definitely NOT ask me.

Author’s Note: Who wants Thor to be a companion on Doctor Who? *raises hand* (Weeeell, any of the Avengers, really. Except maybe Tony, because he’d try to take the TARDIS apart, and that would make the Doctor really mad. Maybe. I don’t actually know.)

The Edge of Starlight

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Okay, I was just writing late one night and came up with this. Enjoy!

The Edge of Starlight
It’s late. Talk to me.
Tell me about the sunset, the crickets, the pale glow of fireflies. Tell me about the soft night air.
It’s late and I’m tired, but I don’t want to go to sleep just yet.
Talk to me.
Tell me a story. Anyone. Anywhere. Anywhen. Anything.
Tell me a good story.
Sing a song I can dream good dreams to, awake or sleeping.
Tell me the world sleeps while we sit here on the edge of starlight, wakeful, breathing in soft, dew-laden night breezes.
It’s late. Talk to me.

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