The Red Lines Page

April 18, 2009


Filed under: drwho,Kursaal,Novels,writing — Peter A @ 8:21 pm
Tags: , , ,

My first novel was published in January 1998 by BBC Worldwide (ISBN: 0-563-40578-3).Kursaal

When I heard that the BBC were planning to relaunch the original Doctor Who novels, I submitted an unsolicited proposal. The editor liked it enough to commission it, but requested that I incorporate the Doctor’s new travelling companion, Samantha Jones.

I wrote my original proposal for an 85,000-word novel in August 1996. It doesn’t feature Sam Jones at all – I had to incorporate her subsequently. You can work out for yourself how I managed this.

Compare the proposal to the scene-by-scene breakdown that I used when writing the novel. It’s a combination of physical, scenic and plot detail, with sections of dialogue and gags, plus suggestions for chapter endings. I used it as a guideline when writing, and developed ideas which are not in the outline as I did the writing and rewriting.

You can work out how the outline changed during the writing of the final book. For example, I hacked several thousand words off the opening chapter to kick-start the novel, and introduced a variety of subsidiary characters to make some of the transitions more interesting.

An example of how the book may have changed more substantially is in the revisions blog entry.

In-joke: I chose “Kursaal” as a title from a list of words meaning “place of leisure”. I subsequently discovered that it is also the name of several casinos in Europe, as well as a pier attraction in Southend-on Sea; the “Kursaal Flyer” is a train that runs to the Southend Kursaal, and this is where the one-hit wonder band got their name; so, naturally, I name-check them in the novel.

You can read a excerpt from novel, and also see my ideas for the Jax symbol And there’s a more detailed history of writing Kursaal that explains how the book was commissioned, written, and published.

The book was the seventh of the BBC’s Eighth Doctor novels, and there were lots of reviews, which I have summarised. There’s also a short interview from Doctor Who Magazine.

You can still buy the novel via the various worldwide Amazon sites, including the UK and the US.


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  2. […] BBC liked my first novel, Kursaal, particularly the way that the Doctor interacted with his new companion, Samantha Jones. They […]

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  3. […] with Kursaal and Frontier Worlds, the reviews of The Ancestor Cell on the Online Ratings Guide were much […]

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  4. […] him a little ourselves. One of my favourite, albeit trivial, editorial notes when I wrote the novel Kursaal was from a copy editor asking whether the BBC was prepared to “commit to the idea” that the […]

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  5. […] writing Kursaal, I kept in contact with the other writers of the BBC Eighth Doctor range via e-mail. We would […]

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