On Tenterhooks

As I may or may not have mentioned before, Doctor Who was a big influence when it came to my decision to become a writer. For so many reasons, there’s no other series quite like it on television, and it would take me quite some time to go into them all (I wrote an essay for my A Level coursework describing quite a few). But alongside all of the stories, planets, characters and other elements that everyone knows make it so great, there are smaller things that are also capable of leaving a fan on the edge of their seat. For the entirety of the show’s original run, from 1963 to 1989, each adventure was broadcast as a serial which would usually be between two and six episodes in duration – although the longest in its history was the mammoth 14-part The Trial of a Time Lord, broadcast in 1986. Week after week, audiences of up to 13 million would wait with baited breath for each instalment of a story, and at the end of each part there would often be a cliffhanger featuring the good Doctor or another character in a certain predicament, which they would duly escape in the next episode.

Whether I find them in Doctor Who or elsewhere, cliffhangers have always fascinated me. I like the challenge involved in creating a serialised story that can successfully maintain consumer interest, sometimes over a long-term period. If anything can tell you that you’ve written a good story, surely it’s that? And who could resist the opportunity to leave an audience yearning for more, keeping their hunger for a creation alive? It’s questions like that which encourage me to write something similar, where a character goes on a journey with many twists and turns along the way. I once considered doing a Twitter account, parallel to my own, that followed the trials and tribulations of a fictional character, but I eventually decided that the mere 140 characters allowed per tweet wouldn’t allow for quite enough development. I then wondered whether I could create a blog for the same thing, but I got worried about neglecting this one whilst concentrating on it. At the moment, therefore, my options seem to be few, but I could one day make a podcast as a relatively simple alternative to the methods mentioned above. It’d be nice to release one every week, or in another set pattern, and see if anyone was hooked by it. I’d need some help, but I certainly wouldn’t discount it – watch this space!


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