So I got my notes back from my writer's group on Saturday and, much to my delight, the reviews were pretty solid. They liked my story, they thought that it flowed well, had some great turns and, overall, was fun.
Which is kind of funny considering how worried I was about this thing turning out to be too dark.
One of the best notes was that everyone seemed to have an arc in this episode except the Doctor. Now, as far as I can tell, the Doctor doesn't usually have an arc in non-essential story lines... but it seems like something worth playing around with.
The idea was to incorporate the idea that William, the patriarch of this 1930s family, has somehow lost his stature because of the 'loss' of their son. He'd sent Jonathan down there, alone and now that he's gone missing, the mother and daughter don't think all to highly of him.
The Doctor's 'arc' this episode could be to help try to redeem the father.
What I liked about this note was that it also fits in with the overall theme of the rest of series 6 (where, I believe, the Doctor helps 3 other dads reclaim their stature as fathers, of sorts).
Now, in order for that to work I'm going to have to pretty much pair the father with the Doctor... which means taking the mother, Mary, out of the picture.
Right now I have her going down into the caverns with him, which I like, but he ends up spending all his time with Mary instead of the Doctor.
In fact, right now, the Doctor ends up alone.
And we must never leave the Doctor alone for long. He's at his best when he's trying to explain incredibly large-scale and complex things to incredibly normal people.
So that's the BIG change to make. Somehow I'm going to have to find a way to either leave Mary behind at the house (fretting over the remnants of her family that's all disappeared below the Earth) or have her set off on her own.
Hrmm! Maybe that's the ticket there. He orders her to stay back at the house in typical 'I'm the man' sort of style but she heads down there anyway. It allows him and the Doctor to spend time together and it creates some tension while, hopefully, making Mary that much stronger of a character (we'll certainly understand where Josie gets her guts from then).
Actually, Sunday ended up being a pretty great day with very few distractions -- I managed to pump out 19 pages of my vomit draft for this.
Of course I'm going to have to go back and change the last 5 or so now... but yeah, I'm definitely off to a good start.
And that, really, is the best part about taking the time to put together a good outline. By the time you get down to writing your story you already know it and if you hit a bump like the one above (or come up with something better) it's a lot easier to make the changes you need because you already have a solid idea of what connects to what.
Anyways, I'm going to play around with these changes and I think they're really going to make this thing even stronger.
See you on Wednesday!