The Ghosts of Christmas

The Ghosts of Christmas cover As I said back in October, my short story, Tell Me You Love Me is going to be included in the forthcoming anthology, Doctor Who Short Trips: The Ghosts of Christmas.

The Big Finish page for the book now includes an image, as well as a free PDF of one story from the collection – Faithful Friends, Part 1, by the book’s editors, Cavan Scott and Mark Wright.

It’s sad, though: my story features William Hartnell’s Doctor and the original TARDIS crew. Characters that were created at least in part by, and wouldn’t be remembered today without the inimitable talents of, the late Verity Lambert, who died on Thursday.

Thank you, Verity, for creating such a remarkable series, and for letting the likes of me play in the sandbox from time to time.

Why write?

It may be a tough question to answer, but [I love Neil Gaiman’s attempt](http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2007/10/why-write.html):

> The best thing about writing fiction is that moment where the story catches fire and comes to life on the page, and suddenly it all makes sense and you know what it’s about and why you’re doing it and what these people are saying and doing, and you get to feel like both the creator and the audience. Everything is suddenly both obvious and surprising (“but of course that’s why he was doing that, and that means that…”) and it’s magic and wonderful and strange.

I wouldn’t dare try and compare myself to Gaiman — I doubt I’ll ever achieve anything like one thousandth of his talents. I’m _really_ looking forward to **Stardust**, my excitement only being tempered by the thought that the film can’t possibly compare to the novel (what film ever does?). That said, I do know what he means. _Tell Me You Love Me_ will be my first published fiction work and a short story, but there were times writing it where I just got swept up and everything came out at speed. It’s happened before with the [fanfic short stories](http://matthewman.net/category/fiction/fanfic/short-stories/) I’ve written before; the pleasure increases slightly when you know you’re being paid for it, though.

Looking back at the proof PDF which I was sent last week, those points in the story still stand out as the best bits for me. It’s the portions where I had to include exposition, to write and rewrite and rewrite again to make sure that there was sufficient explanation, that stutter and falter. In contrast, I really love the opening few pages, which are largely unchanged from the very first draft. And reading it back, months now after I first wrote them, I can really detect the influence of Gaiman’s writing style upon my own. Hopefully, as I carry on writing that will develop into my own writing style, rather than an inferior copy of somebody else’s.

I was so scared, too, that as a first time writer, my work would stick out from that of the experienced writers with whom I’m contributing to _[The Ghosts of Christmas](http://matthewman.net/2007/10/02/coming-soon-the-ghosts-of-christmas/)_. But I’ve read the whole draft of the book several times now, and am beginning to feel less like the fraud I thought I may be when I was first offered the commission.

Next up, I have to decide if I’m going to have time to devote to [NaNoWriMo](http://www.nanowrimo.org/) this year. Other pressures last year meant that I just had no spare time to devote to writing, and I’m hoping that I can spend November 2007 writing 50,000 words of a first draft.

Coming soon: The Ghosts of Christmas

I’ve mentioned bits and pieces about getting a short story published, without going into further detail. Now, though, my publisher has announced full details, so I can officially go public. My story, Tell Me You Love Me, is going to be published in Big Finish’s forthcoming short story anthology, Short Trips: The Ghosts of Christmas.

I’ve been so excited about this, ever since Cavan and Mark first asked me to pitch. From that point on, really, I’ve had to keep pinching myself to believe that it was actually happening.

Thanks to Mark and Cavan, who gave me some great notes back from my early drafts, I’m really quite happy with the way the story has come out. Since handing it over and getting the final draft signed off, I’ve looked back at it and wondered if I could have done various bits better (I’m sure the answer will be ‘yes’ on all fronts). I suspect, though, that I’d never be completely happy with it.

The Ghosts of Christmas will be published in December.