The Doctor Who cameo

Here there be spoilers. If you haven’t finished Chapter 7, wait and come back.

In all of the Glamourist Histories novels, I include a Doctor Who cameo. Why? Because I’m a huge fan and have been since high school. If I am creating a universe, why not make it the way I want it to be and that includes the Doctor. It turns out that my friend, Paul Cornell, has written for the television show and quite likes my books. I joked about having him adjust the dialogue of the Doctor character and he sort of lit up. “Actually, I’d love to do that.”

So…for Valour and Vanity, I sent the Doctor cameo scenes over and let Paul make them more authentic. When he sent them back, he said that I’d probably have to tone it down. I opened the file and giggled like a fiend because he was SO the Doctor.

And Paul was totally correct. I needed to tone him down.

So– Here for your interest is the original scene, as I wrote it, followed by the Doctored version, and then the final version as it appears in print. I’ll talk about what things I needed to pull back and why.

The original draft:

“I beg your pardon, madam.” Il dottore had abandoned his work with the lock and now stood behind the sofa. “You were not attacked by pirates.”

“I assure you, we were.”

The odd little man shook his head and tapped the fez upon his head. “I’ve made something of a study of the corsairs. This captain is not wearing a fez beneath his turban. They do not sail the Gulf of Venice, and their costume is more subdued than what you have shown us.”

 

Paul’s Doctored version

“No, I don’t think so.” Il dottore had abandoned his work with the lock and now stood behind the sofa. “Not pirates. You think you were attacked by pirates, but you weren’t. Oh, and how often do I get to say that?” He seemed pleased by the absurdity of the situation in a way which Jane would have found annoying but for his childlike grin.

“I assure you, we were.”

The odd little man shook his head and tapped the fez upon his head. “Corsairs, excellent haberdashery choices, fez beneath the turban, but not for this captain of yours. Also, Corsairs in the Gulf of Venice, as if, and dressed like that, not unless they were on their way to the theatre. To perform, I mean.” He looked suddenly as if he had said too much, made an awkward gesture with his hands and spun on his heel to return to the business of the lock.

My goal with these is for the Doctor to fit seamlessly into the historical background so that he doesn’t break you out of the story, if you don’t know about the cameos. To make him blend in a bit more, I first removed the contractions from his speech. Then I cut the language that was anachronistic. For instance, “as if” is so distinctly modern, that it would have stood out. And finally, I had to pull “Oh, and how often do I get to say that?” because it raised the questions about why he might get to say things like that more often. He’s a secondary character and I couldn’t make him too interesting.

So here is the final version.

“I beg your pardon, madam.” Il dottore had abandoned his work with the lock and now stood behind the sofa. “Not pirates. You think you were attacked by pirates, but you were not.”

“I assure you, we were.”

The odd little man shook his head and tapped the fez upon his head. “Corsairs, excellent haberdashery choices, fez beneath the turban, but not for this captain of yours. Also, Corsairs in the Gulf of Venice? And dressed like that? Not unless they were on their way to the theatre. To perform, I mean.” He looked suddenly as if he had said too much, made an awkward gesture with his hands and spun on his heel to return to the business of the lock.

Return to Valour and Vanity

Purchase