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Swing to the other side

I knew it would eventually come to this. It's been on my mind ever since I decided to do this, and after talking with a friend, I think she's right. No, it's nothing important - it's a writing decision - but certainly something that's been bugging me for a while.

I've decided to retcon the character change I made to David in "Discovery" and remove the broken psychic power thing that I gave him. I wrote way back in June that I had reservations about giving him this power, which, if you don't know, is an extremely overpowered psychic ability (telekinetic and telepathic) that hurts him if he uses it and that he cannot control. He finds out about it in "Discovery", and then in Repercussions, decides to use it to save a bunch of people from dying and nearly kills himself in the process. The rest of that story then deals with what happens, since he basically came out of the closet, revealing that he's an alien to his friends.

So far, my use of it felt like a one-trick pony: give him this one difficulty so that later on, a different story has something to work around. So, I've been trying to think of how to use it in other stories, and I've come up with a complete blank. The problem is that it's so overpowered that it overbalances any story I can think of. For example, I wanted to have David, the Doctor, and Jenny go on an adventure. What could possibly happen on that adventure that David couldn't get them out of? They get locked in a prison? Oh, easy, just TK the lock (or, well, blow the door out) and they're out. David has reservations about using the power, and yes, it hurts him, but then the story just becomes an endless monologue about why he won't use it this time. He does have the neural inhibitor to stop him most of the time, but why have this trait at all if all you're going to do is find ways to not use it?

I could continue to work with it, but I don't think it's worth the effort. David is a much more interesting character without it. He's already got unusual traits that set him apart from the Doctor and Jenny: his inability to regenerate, his schizophrenic moral system, and (though I've never made it explicit) his perfect time-sense - like perfect pitch in music, he always knows when he is and how much time has elapsed, which is something I've never seen depicted but, in my opinion, must exist among Time Lords, even if it's rare. He doesn't need more than that.

Retconning "Discovery" means that I have to rewrite "One End, One Beginning" and Repercussions. The first shouldn't be too hard. Part of it was written to depend on David's psychic strength, but I think it can be adjusted to be explained by the normal connection the Time Lords have with each other. Repercussions is going to be far more difficult. The outing of his alien status was very spectacular and ended up incapacitating him for quite a while, giving his friends a lot of time to argue over him without his input. I've figured out how to out him more subtly, but not how to remove him from the picture long enough for the argument. It's an interesting exercise though. Hopefully, this will result in a better story, as well as bring David back in line with the rest of the characters in the universe. And if I really want to work with David in that configuration, I can spawn a different AU off "Discovery" and go on yet another tangent with that character. I do love him. :)



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 24th, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC)
You make some really excellent points here about his telekinesis; it does seem somewhat of an "easy way out" for certain situations and, used sparingly, it might not hurt him so much. It will require a massive rewrite, though, to accommodate the lack of said power. How will he save all those people on the plane if he can't bring it down safely using his mind (something tech-y, perhaps, that he wires up quickly, like a massive remote). Then will he be out of commission while his "outing" as an alien be discussed? There are all sorts of ramifications for changing that one detail...

Yet you are right about the jail cell thing. The sonic/technology doesn't always do wood, but the mind can move all kinds of matter. Too easy!

David is a very complex character indeed, and well worthy of your love. Keep us posted as to what you do with him.
Aug. 24th, 2015 08:31 pm (UTC)
I do plan to remove the plane entirely. I can't really see a way for him to land the plane easily, since even if he could find a way to control it, without the telepathy, he can't see where it's going, since he's standing on the ground. However, maybe I can find some other local disaster that he can figure out how to avert. There's also the opportunity for some fine angst if he realizes that he actually can't do much other than save a few people around himself.

I think that's really it: I much prefer for the conflict to come from his internal struggle to be both a Time Lord and a human or from his relationships with the other characters, and not from what amounts to a plot device. I think that's probably the reason why I like The Actor and Neighbours over A Choice of a Lifetime - in the former, the stories deal with David and his life and character, while the latter was mostly just getting him from human to Time Lord, with a few interesting tidbits along the way.
Aug. 24th, 2015 09:18 pm (UTC)
That makes sense, and that is often the dilemma the Doctor and his companions find themselves in. "Just save someone; not the whole town, just someone." It's hard discovering that, even with all those fantastic tools at hand, sometimes you just can't save everyone. Makes for wonderful drama when it's closer to home rather than random people.
Aug. 25th, 2015 12:03 am (UTC)
Oh, absolutely! That was the reason that Donna was the person who died in The Actor. I knew that that part of the story was going to be about David having to choose between the deaths of one person on this side or a number of people on the other side. The one person had to be someone he really cared about, and it wouldn't have worked with a person that the reader only just met. It had to hit close to home, and that meant Donna. I cried when I first wrote that scene.
Aug. 25th, 2015 12:15 am (UTC)
I cried when I read it; I love Donna so much!
Aug. 25th, 2015 02:42 am (UTC)
My husband suggested her, and you should have seen my face - I was horrified! And then I thought about it, and he says I got this evil grin on my face. :) He still teases me about being the Donna-killer. :( :(
Aug. 25th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
Well, there's something they say about not having really written until you kill your favorite character off.... It was gut-wrenching for all concerned.

Ooh, your husband has an evil sense of humor!
Aug. 25th, 2015 05:04 pm (UTC)
He does. He also obviously likes being punched. ;)
Aug. 24th, 2015 11:48 pm (UTC)
Fine points, honey. It was a great idea, but it would quickly overwhelm the awesome characters and worlds you have created. Good choice. Still wish it could have worked out, though.

Aug. 24th, 2015 11:58 pm (UTC)
Well, you know, sometimes you have to try something to figure out the problems it poses. I still like the idea and may explore it in an AAU - an alternate-alternate universe! ;) But there are many other stories about David (and Will!) to tell, and I don't want them to be bogged down by this problem. David has enough things going on to keep him busy for a while.
Sep. 6th, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC)
Writing decisions ftw. Good luck! :)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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