4 Mar, ’21

Reusing your own stories

by Cal

I've been thinking a lot about Dirk Gently and Douglas Adams lately. I mean, not the stories themselves, I only read the first few pages of the first Dirk Gently book and was so lost and confused about what was going on that I gave up, but like, the existence of the Dirk Gently books. And Krikkit, from the Hitchhikers books.

The thing those both have in common is that they were ideas Douglas Adams wrote up, or started writing, or whatever, for Doctor Who episodes, which didn't get picked up to be actually made into Doctor Who episodes, which he then reused elsewhere. So far as I understand it, the entire character of Dirk Gently is the Doctor with the serial numbers filed off and carried off in a different direction, which I remember mostly because it was the single fact about the entire book that finally made the little bit of the book I read make sense lmao. (I hadn't actually ever seen or heard of Doctor Who until years after I tried reading that book or I might've made the connection myself.)

The reason why I've been thinking about this is because the ep of Voyager we saw on Monday was Tsunkatse, i.e. the one where Tuvok and Seven get abducted and forced to fight in sometimes-fatal gladiatorial fisticuffs. ("What does Dirk Gently and Doctor Who have to do with Star Trek gladiators?!" just hang in there a moment and it'll all make sense I promise) And this, as is zero percent surprising if you've known me for a while, led me to thinking about two things: One, Thor: Ragnarok. And two, a book that I started writing after watching Thor: Ragnarok.

I love the concept of the book. I love the characters I've made up, even the "bad guys". I deliberately structured the book to be entirely "fun" stuff - combat sequences, the trifecta of anguishes, snarky banter. I want to pick it up and finish it, and I keep wanting to pick it up and finish it. But it's deeply embedded in... well, in a bunch of stuff, but the key point is that it's in somebody else's fictional setting, and I don't really want to write in that setting anymore (and haven't really wanted to since, like... a few weeks after I started the book, honestly).

Which is why I keep thinking about Dirk Gently. If Douglas Adams could pick up a story concept he started for one character in one world and turn it into a story about his own character in his own world, then I can do the same. It's still my own story idea. I can take the core of the story and put it someplace else, without any of the previously canon characters. I can just Do This.

I'm hoping if I tell myself this enough times, I'll believe it enough to pick up the draft again.