Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It was pretty damn wonderful actually

Right to left, Richard Clark (director) Steven Moffat (showrunner/lead writer) Matt Smith (actor), me (writer of episode). I do not know why Matt's head and mine are dissolving into light.

What would you like to know?

Actually it doesn't matter what you'd like to know, all I'll say is that the table read was pretty amazing, the guest star or stars will be fabulous, Matt's great, Arthur's wonderful and I never got to say hullo to Karen (who was amazing).

I had a meeting after the readthrough with the producers and director, pinpointing stuff that needs fixing or clarifying ("So we need to change that without making it longer or spending any money. Right."). But nothing that needs rewriting is anything other than cosmetic, and I should get it done tomorrow or Thursday.

(Favourite quote from S. Moffat: "Look, you understand that, and I understand that, but we're Science Fiction people. The other 100% of the audience may not get it.")

The plan is still that it's the third episode of Next Season's Doctor Who. In case you have no idea what I'm talking about.

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Where I am and what I'm doing

1) In Cardiff

2) Eleven minutes away from going downstairs and finding the room the readthrough of my Doctor Who episode is in. No, I'm not nervous. Why would you think that I'm nervous? I always do this with my hands. You just haven't noticed before.

Please don't look at me like that.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Not a Maddy's birthday post. Actually about four other things.

This photo of a happy birthday girl and her birthday car is deceptive.

Four quick links I've not posted here.

First: On September 26th I'll be one of four authors (Karen Hesse, Grace Lin and Jerry Spinelli are the other three, which is wonderful company) being honoured at Boston Public Library. It's a fundraiser ( "Proceeds from this event will fund children’s services and special programs for children and young adults.") and the event is ticketed. There will be a signing afterwards open to the public, though.
Details at:

(And note -- "People are encouraged to sponsor children who would otherwise be unable to participate, by purchasing and donating extra tickets to the awards presentation & tea party".)

Second: In early October there will be a New Yorker festival. The New York Times Blog explains,
Today’s secret words are alter ego: Paul Reubens, the artist known forever in our hearts as Pee-wee Herman, will make a rare out-of-character appearance as himself for a public interview as part of the 11th annual New Yorker Festival in October, its organizers said on Tuesday. Other performers and authors who will appear in conversations with that magazine’s contributors include the “Office” star Steve Carell, the actress Patricia Clarkson, the musician James Taylor, the fantasy writer Neil Gaiman and the filmmaker Werner Herzog.

The festival, which runs from Oct. 1 through 3, will also feature panel discussions on “Saturday Night Live,” with Seth Meyers and other cast members, and moderated by The New Yorker editor, David Remnick; vampires in popular culture, featuring Stephen King and the “Twilight” screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg and moderated by Joan Acocella...

I'll be interviewed by Dana Goodyear, who did the profile of me in the New Yorker earlier this year. Tickets and the schedule will go up on on September 10th.

And third...

At the end of October is the House on the Rock American Gods event, "A Low Key Gathering". (Details and information at's a benefit being organised by the Thingies (those stalwart individuals who have been with us since the dawn days of, and I've donated a handful of things to their auction, things I found in the attic. The auction is to help bring long-term fans in, and anything left over will go to the CBLDF. Mistress Mousey donated cool stuff (including one of the limited run of Sandman 8s), as has Kitty from Neverwear.

Up in the attic there are boxes. I went and found three things I've donated to actions once or twice before, and one thing that's never been up for sale ever - the limited prints I do every few years for friends (they are meant to be out for the holidays but sometimes wind up being sent out in February): The Dangerous Alphabet and Instructions both began life like that. My poem, A Writer's Prayer was done as a limited edition print, too, and I donated one of each.

My story "Nicholas Was...", was first published as a Christmas Card calligraphed by Dave McKean (with a copyright notice by me). I sent most of them out, but there were still a few unsent once all had been sent. About a decade ago, I was offered $1000 as a donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for one of the originals, and I resolved to try and find one, and I failed, and have long-since lost the information of the person who offered it. (If you're reading this, please let me know through the FAQ line.) But there was some tidying and moving of stuff last year, and a handful of the original Christmas Cards surfaced.

So I signed one of them and donated it to the auction.

The auction is at this link.



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You're Sixteen, you're Beautiful, and You're Very Much Your Own Young Lady.

Today is my daughter Maddy's birthday. She was seven when I started this blog. She's about to turn sixteen. We went out this morning (well, technically yesterday morning) together looking for a car for her - she's spent the last month on the internet, hunting for cars in the price range I've given her than she wouldn't be ashamed to be seen driving. And she found one, and we test-drove it, and now she's going to be a girl with a car, and I feel just a bit older, because my youngest child is driving.

I wish she'd come and guest-blog some more, but she says she's self-conscious, as she meets strangers who tell her how much they like it when she blogs, and she would hate to disappoint them. She's the funniest person I know, has the sweetest disposition and the sunniest smile, and I love being with her, whether we're going around the world together having adventures or just watching The Big Bang Theory.



I'm flying to the UK on Sunday for the Doctor Who table read on Tuesday. This morning I was sent the producers' "this is what we can afford" edited draft of my Doctor Who script. I'll do a polish on that. And then we're pretty much done. I think. I hope. I pray.

(Seeing a few people have asked, writing a Babylon 5 episode was much simpler: I think it was two drafts. But it was all existing sets and basically no special effects. My Doctor Who episode is Bigger in every way, inside and outside: I've asked them for the impossible, and they've knocked themselves out to give it to me, and when they can't they've managed to somehow give me the very improbable.)


I am preparing to have about 12 super reluctant Jr High boys listen to a CD of the Graveyard Book, as they follow along in their books. I haven't been able to find any lesson plans on this book. Will you please take a minute to tell us a little about the background of this book, and maybe some additional graveyard ideas you left out. We are pretty excited to get started.
Thanks, Dianne the Librarian

I asked Elyse Marshall from Harper Childrens, and she said:

Here is a link to our reading guide: It has excellent discussion questions and extension activities – perfectly suitable for teachers. The guide was written by a middle school teacher with this audience in mind, actually.

Also look at the videos on, at In addition to the videos of me reading chapters, there are also edited highlights of the Q&As from the tour, in which many questions are answered.

Dear Neil,

I wrote a piano suite based on various tales from Fragile Things. You can hear it here:

It was played by my friend Jillian Hanks, who is fantastic. There fifteen (very) short movements:

I: These People Ought To Know Who We Are, And Tell That We Were Here
II: Mapmaker
III: Inventing Aladin
IV: A Study In Emerald
V: Closing Time
VI: Locks
VII: Instructions
VIII: Harlequin Valentine
IX: The Problem Of Susan
X: The Day The Saucers Came
XI: Pages From A Journal
XII: October In The Chair
XIII: Other People
XIV: How To Talk To Girls At Parties
XV: Sunbird

I hope you like it, and thank you for all the stories.


That was beautiful! Thank you.

Dear Mr. Gaiman,

I'm sure this email is, by now, a common refrain from your many journal readers, so I apologise in advance.

That said; please end your journal.

I understand, because of your recent grand successes (congratulations, by the way), that regular blogging might be either difficult to find time for or has been supplanted by the appealing immediacy of Twitter, so I think it is time for the journal to come to a natural end.

Look at Mr. Campbell's blog - 'frozen in time', your very own words. I think your journal, which has been one of the more impressive online blogging documents in the internet's relatively young history, deserves better than to stumble along like a ballplayer past his prime, occasionally swinging and hitting, mostly missing (in this analogy, a 'miss' is a day or event unblogged, and there's been a few of those recently).

Perhaps you can archive as a document of a time period for all to read and enjoy. Or perhaps that long hinted-at publication of sections of it might eventuate. Either way, the journal as it is has had its day. It's done its job. Its time is past.

(Gosh, how many more its / it's can I use?)

Please don't see this as an attack. I am, and always will be a fan, but I've loved coming to this journal over the years and to see it in its current state is a shame.

(Time was I checked it once, twice a day. Now it's once a week, at best. I've even removed it from my Mac Top Sites. Gasp!)

Evolve your website. Make Twitter the key element, and have the journal, along with stories, upcoming events, etc. a reading experience. A document of a part of your life and career, frozen in time, unchanging, perfect for its moments, for all to enjoy.

My best wishes and hopes for continued success,

Scott Dixon

I don't think anyone else has asked for me to stop it. But no, no plans to end it at this point.

The blog's on a sort of limping Hiatus until my work on Dr Who is actually done done. (As explained in and then it'll come back in some form or other. Not sure what. But I'll be working flat out on the next book, and blogging's fun when you're booking. It's a nice warm up exercise for the mind and the fingers.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Turned up to Eleven

We're about ten days away from the Doctor Who table reading. I spoke to the Director for the first time yesterday. And the script is pretty much the script. (ie, I'm about to send off a script to the Script Editor that I hope will be, if not the last draft, then the one that we go into the table read with). Technically it's probably the tenth draft, but I'm not really counting any more. (The "Cut ten pages" draft of the trip to Australia was the last one that felt like major surgery.) Steven Moffat came to my rescue when I felt like I couldn't even pick it up again, and for that, he is a hero.

It hasn't really changed that much. It just gets tighter and, I hope, more like itself. Slowly, draft by draft, it's being turned up to eleven.

Anything that wasn't moving the plot forward has gone. Lots of interesting chatty background conversations in the TARDIS, gone. Lines of dialogue that were fun in themselves but weren't really needed? Gone. And the food scene? Very gone indeed. It's been gone since draft six. Given that it's not there any longer, and that that tells you absolutely nothing about the story except that it now doesn't have a scene with a bowl of food in it, I thought I'd borrow it back from Lucien's library.

The Doctor has just been given a bowl of something to eat. Something...possibly... alien...

Is it something people can eat?
(to Doctor)
Shouldn’t you scan it with your screwdriver or something?

Why would I scan food with my screwdriver?

See if it’s safe?

The Doctor leans over, dips his finger into his bowl, tastes it.

Some unusual trace elements, smidge too much background radiation, but, yeah, very yummy.

Amy is about to try some of his food... he stops her.

THE DOCTOR (cont’d)
No. Don’t put it in your mouth.

Not for humans?

Not for you. Tastes like Marmite on socks.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

The Truth is a Reading In The Sydney Opera House

If you're wondering what the reading at the Sydney Opera House of "The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains", with the FourPlay String Quartet, and Eddie Campbell art, was actually like, here's an "Edited Highlights". Five minutes out of 90 minutes (the story was followed by an interview by Eddie and "In Relig Oran"), courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald.

(There are spoilers in there. If you want to read the story it's in STORIES and is up online at

I hope that one day the whole thing may be available.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Sydney Signing Situation

Everything is moving along towards tomorrow night's Sydney Opera House gig. There were about 100 seats (out of about 2000) left the last time I checked, and if you're thinking of coming tomorrow night you should grab a ticket fast.

Go to

The Opera House had wanted a signing, but hadn't really thought through the logistics of 2000 people wanting their things scribbled on, even if only half of them wanted something signed, or the keeping on of Opera House staff to run the signing, or keeping spaces open for hours while a thousand people lined up and shuffled forward, and when they realised what was involved they very sensibly decided that no, they wouldn't have a signing on Saturday night.

So I went to the Kinokuniya bookshop yesterday afternoon after the Triple J interview with The Doctor (it's up at and I signed 2000 books by me. Everything they had. EVERYTHING. So although there will not be a signing, anyone coming on Saturday night can get a signed book. Probably anyone in Sydney who wants anything signed by me next week will just have to go into Kinokuniya and take your choice.

This is about 3/4 of them, when I was done (they'd already wheeled some of them away).

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