As we usher out Matt Smith and usher in Peter Capaldi as the twelfth Doctor, it’s useful to reflect on just why “The Name of the Doctor” is such a brilliant piece of television science fiction. In that finale Dr. Simeon makes the assertion (see quote above) about the Doctor’s “reputation.” The Doctor, in all his incarnations, is the “slaughterer of the ten billion,” the one who wiped out (or will wipe out) the Sycorax, Soloman the Trader, the Cybermen, and the Daleks.
The reason I’m boring you with all this is simple: Most fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror aspire to be creative writers, whether short stories, novels, screenplays, or creative nonfiction. And it’s worth offering a bit of writing advice to those who do. Any story has to have an protagonist and an antagonist, or, as they say in Engligh, a hero and villain :)
If the antagonist is a “real person”, i.e., not a sharknado or disco music, then you need to make sure that you understand your villain. He may be a son-of-a-bitch to everyone else, but to himself he’s God’s gift to mankind. When we watch Doctor Who, we know the Cybermen and Daleks are evil, but to Dr. Simeon they’re victims. It’s crucial for us writers to realize that from the point of view of the villain, the villain is the hero and the hero is the villain, or vice versa in reverse.
One exercise that I like to practice when writing a story is to write an outline from the villain’s perspective. It gives me a sense of what he wants, how he views life. This, I think, is crucial to three-dimensional characters and good, solid story, and the reason “The Name of the Doctor” is such a good episode.
That’s all for today. I had a tooth extracted this week and I feel like warm-over dogshit.
So, until next time,
Copyright (c) 2013 Keith Parker. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners and are used for entertainment purposes only and as provided for by the “Fair Use” copyright clause.