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Rose and Her Doctor

April 2010

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Rose being Rose

Tension

Well, I just read the next installment of Rallalon's In Human Hands, and I was trying to figure out why I like is so well. I've actually never given much thought before to what makes a piece of fiction enjoyable for me. Breaking new ground here *smirks, rolls eyes at self, wants to hide face behind hand...my very own 3 Faces of Eve*

So this is me, doing a bit of critical thinking...
A few weeks ago I read Kalleah's reply to a comment about a twist in one of her stories. She said it would be boring if things got resolved easily. Well that gave me something to chew on.

I guess this is pretty basic stuff, really. Simple. Keep things taut. Get good at imagining plausibly unpleasant things and keep everyone in character while they experience them. Oh, and have a good way with words. Humor can add a nice flavor. But the main course is the tension and it's resolution.

I'm trying to think of an example when I stopped reading or enjoying something because the tension was just too much for too long, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. Predictable situations and hackneyed responses have bothered me. When a character doesn't seem quite right I've stopped reading. But have I ever stopped reading a good story that has this tension that doesn't let up? Still thinking...

OK, so there's Rosa Acicularis' "But Broken Lights". I can't even figure out why I kept reading it except that the writing was so good, and I don't know what I mean by that yet, so I'll try and figure it out later, maybe reread the story. Anyway, as I recall, I kept on reading, hoping that it would get better between the Doctor and Rose. It was darker than I like my stories, and Rose was so unhappy. The angst-o-meter reading was practically off the charts, but just in time ...she had Rose disappear down a rabbit hole. Now I'm curious. I wonder if it is going to be simple and predictable. I hope it won't be. And it is not. Not in the least.

In fact, a quick and neat ending is nowhere in sight. She ups the tension with more danger and the Doctor is seriously hurt. Where is this going? Will the outer situation shift the relationship to a better place? I'm hoping, waiting, for that to happen. Because for me the resolution of the tension in the relationship is a huge requirement. I like the action and mystery and hard times well enough, but the heart of the story is just that: the heart of the story.

She keeps it up. The story is long. It isn't until Chapter 8, when the Doctor is practically out of his mind, that she lowers his defenses and gives us that sunrise. And oh, she brings me to my knees. And I'm praying that he's not about to die. OK, so is that me, or did anybody else feel that? What is it about his admission, revealed in such surreal circumstances that it is dreamlike and almost frightening, that grabs me like that? It is like poetry, not giving it to you straight, making you try and catch a glimpse of it, making you wonder if this is it or did you just imagine it? The line between what is written and who is reading get blurry. Did he just say what I thought he said? Oh Rose, did you hear? Talk about tension! Even the resolution is tense, uncertain.

And oh yeah, she gets them both out of it, and they go back to the Tardis, and they heal each other up. And then...and then.... She is cruel. No. This is it. Deal with it. The Doctor and Rose don't. The only solace is that Rose isn't who she was at the beginning. And he knows. And so they have another chance to go on. But the sunrise is like the sunset on the ripples of the water, and the wave recedes, the sun sets, and a wall goes up again. In the end I am not satisfied. I feel cheated. Because for me, as brilliant as all that was, I like my resolutions in a major instead of a minor key.

There's some of that surreal tension and resolution in the first parts of "Ever/Was" as well when Rose is cannoning through the multiverses. Remember the first time she is behind the dunes in "Ever/Was", seeing herself with Blue Suit on the beach and then seeing Brown Suit walk away? There's a kick-in-the-gut moment if I've ever felt one. She goes through so much, sees so much, and she has to make a choice. She has to be honest with herself. And I'm right there with her, making that choice too. I'm right there, and I'm feeling it in my body. I love her tears the second time on the beach, and her thoughts thrown towards the Rose that is watching from behind the dunes. The b resolves into a c, and the scales is complete. The story goes on, and tension reappears, but it is in a different form, taking the place of the resolved ones as the story progresses. There's the tension with his restlessness. There's the tension with the secret. There's some mystery, some angst, and some nice doses of lightness, maybe even fluff, that keeps me happy and keeps things between them just right.

You've got to have tension, said Kalleah, or it'll be boring. Even if it is just the tension of not knowing what the next gift will be. Or when he will give her the ring. So with True Love's Gifts it wasn't heartbreaking and angsty, but the tension was still there.


Karenbee has written quite a few one shots that I've enjoyed. She writes again and again about that first time between the Doctor and Rose, again and again she brings us to the point where the tension is just unbearable, and then, ah, relief. How fun. My body gets to react in a different way to that. And that has been surprising and kind of nice. I guess that is why romance novels are such a big hit?

Which brings me back to Rallalon and her Chameleon-arched Nine and Rose. I keep wanting them to just fall into each others arms, kiss each other, love each other. Doesn't happen. But I keep hoping. And she keeps me guessing, and doesn't take away my hope. I kind of threaten her in my mind, tell her, "You better let them have at it, Rallalon, or I won't keep reading." But I think that's a lie. She keeps stringing us along, but I am helplessly in love, so I follow and wait and hope for an ending that would make Jane Austin proud. Even if it is the Doctor. Especially since it is the Doctor.

Hmm. I've given myself a lot to think about here. I think I'll be brave and post this to my friends, instead of just to myself. I have so much to learn. I keep finding that it is ok not to walk alone.


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Comments

Okay, I am writing this pre-work out, which means my brain isnt working yet.

You have some great thoughts here. I have to say we agree on what keeps us reading. There have been so many fics that have just left me wanting after the tension and the plot. I am a girl who needs a happy ending. Put them through hell, that is fine, but make sure that I have a plausible happy ending.

I need something that is character based but has a plot that is intriguing. It is stuff I wish I could write, I have tried and failed so I stick to the fluff now.

Really, you are on about the tension- but cab we agree that evil cliff hangers should be followed up by a new chapter. You know, like right then.
Oh tell me about it! I'm such the lightweight. I couldn't take seeing Rose and 10.5 just looking at each other with furrowed brows at the end of Journey's End. It drove me to distraction. Back then I didn't know about LJ or Teaspoon or anybody besides me, my husband and my son who even watched Doctor Who, so I had to take it upon myself to make a happy ending.

I started with a little comic strip. I soon stopped the drawing and just concentrated on writing a story of what happened next. Eventually I "discovered" (like Columbus "discovered")Youtube, and from there found Teaspoon. But my point is that I was so uncomfortable with the unresolved ending that I needed to resolve it, even if it meant writing it myself. Me. Who hasn't written anything resembling fiction since 1983 in a creative writing course in college.

So yes, I can agree with you about evil cliffhangers and such. At least for now. But the interesting thing about it, as I read more and think more, is that I find myself changing a bit. Some of it is just clarification - who am I? But some of it has this other quality that is expansive, not narrowing.

I like it.
I'm finding the tension "In Human Hands" too much. And, yeah, I think that there can be a too much. I was watching a play with my lover, a tense drama about the how a family deals with the accidental death of a child, and he leaned over and whispered "If someone isn't nice to someone else soon, I'm gonna have to leave."

One of the ways we humans use drama is to explore the human condition. Who are we? What's important to us? What are our values? What is precious to us? We use drama to tear us apart and find out our inner workings. If the writer leaves us torn, we are dissatisfied. There is no "closure."

In a recent interview, Moffat said that he sees the Doctor as asexual. But sexuality is just one aspect of Relationship. I think that some writers can't get beyond the lack of sex. Really, the Doctor loves Rose so much that it frightens him. And, quite early in their relationship, Rose *knows* that. "He's better than that," she tells Mickey.

The Doctor is *old.* Yes, he's lost everything and Nine is terribly wounded. But if I, at a mere 48 years can know myself, how much better would the Doctor know himself? I think that too many writers lay on the emo angst, making the Doctor wallow in his many losses. No! That's not *my* Doctor!

*My* Doctor is in love with life, in love with Humans and other wonderful sentient being, in love with the spin of the universe, the spin of the atom, the feel of a warm, flower-fragrant breeze, the taste of a fine wine, snowflakes melting on his tongue, and the vibrantly human smell of Rose Tyler.

I love the beginning of "In Human Hands"; I think that the author lost her way somewhere in the middle. Yes, Nine has suffered terrible hurt, but he's still the Doctor.

And he's Fantastic.
Ok, I'm still thinking about all this. I've read a few articles in the Sun lately that have had me thinking about spirituality and sexuality.My mind bounces right there to spirituality, I guess because of some notion that he has evolved to some point, through his many years and many experiences. How are his "regenerations" different from "reincarnation", for example? So, has he evolved, learned from his mistakes. I don't know how you feel about the end of Season 3, and I know there are a lot of folks out there that didn't like it, but I loved the part about that network, what was it called, something about archangels? Here was the idea that our thoughts can take form, can heal. And the Doctor wanted to forgive. Seems evolved, transformed. I am only on the outside, looking in. When I read anything by HH the Dalai Lama I am always amazed by his humility, his forgiveness, his practicality, his warmth, his humanness, his compassion. And he is an asexual being, so far as I know. So is Amma, a saint who has an ashram in southern India. They are both committed to relieving the suffering of all living beings. Now the Doctor is like that, too. Except he isn't as strong as them, if you ask me. He can't sit still, can't quiet his mind, or so it would seem. He is brilliant. He is compassionate. He does get angry and make mistakes, though (did getting Harriet Jones out of there really need doing?) And no, he is not human. He is working though his stuff with the background he comes from. At the same time, he is fascinated with humans. Loves the earth. Many of the things you mention the Doctor enjoying are, actually, sense experiences, with time sense thrown in there as well. I get the idea this wasn't approved of in Gallifrey. I guess I wonder about so passionate a being as the Doctor being asexual. DT didn't play him that way, and RTD didn't exactly write him that way. 10 and Rose are so tactile.When I watch the videos of 10 and Rose (or 9 and Rose, for that matter!) I think about DT saying he played his relationship with Rose as if they were lovers without the shagging. What does it mean that he is about to tell her he loves her as he burns up a Supernova? What is that love, and why does he want to tell her about it? No love isn't just about sex, for sure. But the tension seems present, like it wants to be released. Is my mind putting it there? Am I imagining it?

And when he finds himself really on th+
at beach and he tells Rose, "Does it really need saying?" I can't help but wonder if he is not saying it only so she has a chance of being happy with a more human him that CAN say how he is feeling and be ok with it. Not too much earlier, when he is running towards her, as DT says, like she is the thing he wants most in the whole universe, if they could have met, and after the biggest best swingingest hug in the universe, I'd have been surprised if he didn't kiss her. I wouldn't been.

So now we're going to have a different head writer and a different Doctor, and I'm ok with that, curious, in fact. How will they pull that off?

I don't know, and I hesitate to post, but once again I will.