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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Doctor Who And The Creative Synchronicity

I'm annoyed, and instead of ranting at my wife I'm gonna get this out now, in blog form. I have just read the brief episode details of the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who, and was aghast at what I read. It seems that this upcoming episode (to be aired in five days or so) has certain striking similarities to the "original" ghost story, "Uncontainable", that I have been working on for the last few weeks. Bugger!

I hate this creative synchronicity; something you have been working on for a while, thinking it's a fairly new and original idea, and suddenly something huge comes along with the same idea, so that, in the future, anyone reading your story will simply think you have just copied the idea. Bugger again. In science-fiction terms, I don't think there's anything bigger than Doctor Who, certainly nothing that will reach so large an audience. And it's very annoying when this sort of thing happens, so that your small, original, and very modest story, even though it was written independently and/or earlier, becomes nothing more than a re-hash of "that Doctor Who episode", or whatever. It is extremely frustrating! 

Certainly I will watch the episode, although not when it is aired. I will take care to complete my story first [it is nearly done], and then watch it, to see how similar things were. No doubt, I'm just having a rant here, and the two stories will be very different [hopefully]. But Bugger again anyway!

Curiously, this has sort of happenned before, although not as simoultaeneously as this time. The last Christmas episode of Doctor Who [I forget the title, but the one with Richard E Grant in], had an idea about sentient snow. I wrote a story about this, "Snow Wonder", ten years ago; and even though this story was published on Smashwords before the episode aired, I'm sure that any Doctor Who fans who might read my story would simply think it was a rip-off of their idea. Don't imagine for a second that I'm saying that Stephen Moffat and crew are spying on my writing, in some clever science-fictional way, and ripping off my ideas. Not at all; I'm simply having a grrr at this writers coincidence. One shiny bit of fruit in the clouds though is this; if I'm having the same sort of creative ideas as the Doctor Who people, then that can't be a bad thing, really.

I have heard tales of it happening before; authors working in secret on "great-idea" novels, and just as they are writing the last page, the same idea comes out in a film by James Cameron or a Michael Chrichton novel or something like that. If I remember rightly, I think John Brosnan [as Harry Adam Knight] wrote CARNOSAUR, about genetically-engineered dinosaurs, at the same time, or before, Chrichton's JURASSIC PARK came out. I also remember that Roger Corman bought the rights to CARNOSAUR and made it into a confusing film, just so, I think, he could say that although his film came out after JURASSIC PARK, he could say it was based on a book that came out before Chrichton's novel, and thus that he sort of had the first film-rights to the idea of "genetically-engineered dinosaurs". But that's very off topic. So for now, Grrrr, and I'd better go and finish my story.
P.S. Jenna-Louise Coleman's character seems to be a much better companion to the Doctor; I was never really keen on Amy Pond, and I'm sick of her now [in fact, am just watching her final episodes now, about six months or so after they were shown.] But bring back Jon Pertwee, that's what I say!


  1. Don't worry to much Michael as although I don't know what your story is about I don't think it'll be much like the opening episode of Dr Who. :-) Oh and definitely agree with you about Jon Pertwee! :-) <3

  2. Funny thing about that -- I was working on a short story about a guy who had created a virus that altered people's racial characteristics, and one pivotal part of the story was that the first black American President was actually some former white dude. And while it's not exactly a case of writer synchronicity, you can easily guess what put the kibosh on THAT one.

  3. After reading this, the idea of watching Doctor Who again got stuck in my head. I haven't watched any episodes since Sylvester McCoy was the Doctor, but I figured there had to be plenty there to watch by now, and people really seemed to like it.

    But the first episode seemed a bit crap to me, and not in the usual Doctor Who sort of way either. I really hope it gets better than people being attacked by a badly animated CGI wheelie bin. I'm fairly sure, once upon a time, we discussed the possibility of them taking over the world, but seeing it in cheesy TV form was a bit of a surprise.

  4. Having just read this again 'Sweetie' I find the comment at the end quite ironic seeing as Peter Capaldi is being hailed as the next Jon Pertwee! Oh and by the way, you did rant at your wife!!!! ��