Issue 2

Hello hello hello. Welcome to the second issue of FINE ONLINE, an email newsletter dedicated to what's happening around Fine Line Productions. Thank you to the people who posted back after getting issue one with their compliments, it's appreciated. I'm typing this with a light heart because:

A Trick of the Light is FINNISHED!

Yes at long last the fifth adventure for Fine Line's Doctor is unleashed. Written by me and guest starring the likes of Amy Ward, Adrian Hudson and Lawrence Ahlemeyer, as well as new faces Dave Turner, Lynsey Robertson and at very short notice, Mark Lenton! It's our most ambitious story yet and we've pushed our facillities to the limits to create this fantasy epic. Read more about it futher on in this issue.

New Fangled Compact Discs

The release of Trick of the Light also heralds a new (and much requested) development, a CD version will be available available as well as the usual cassette version. In fact, "Trick of the Light" will be a double CD pack, wrapped up in full colour artwork courtesy of Kevin Hiley. It's priced £5 (incl. p&p) and consequently it's even more of a real bargain! The cassette version costs £3 (incl p&p).

The next obvious question is whether the earlier Fine Line stories will be rereleased on CD too? At the moment it's a provisional yes, although when and in what order remains to be seen. Hopefully at least one will be available on CD before the end of the year. There might be a little bit of remastering here and there but they'll otherwise be the same as the cassette versions, except for new full colour covers. All the CD's will be priced at £5, regardless of whether they are a one or two disc release.

The Website

As some of you will have found out, the Fine Line website moved again, shortly after I told you about its updated address. However it now lives in a much roomier server and so has plenty of space to expand in the future. You can now find it at: Thanks once more to Steven for smoothly porting it across and for putting up a redirection page at the old address.

If you go there now you'll find not only that the trailers for all five stories are now there to be downloaded plus the theme music, but new reviews for Comic Relief's Curse of Fatal Death and Four to Doomsday. In addition I've re-organised the reviews page into sections per story and added to/updated the links page. Now you can jump to the Doonesbury Town Hall or sample some Doctor Who Random Fiction. I've contributed a little to the latter site via the Yahoo! Doctor Who club.

The Indulgent Author's Bit - A Few Notes on Trick of the Light

Amongst the hardest books in the world to write are children's books. From picture books to novels, they require a very special talent for telling stories, for evoking wonder and laughter. It's unsurprising then that some of the most eternal novels ever written are onstentially meant for children such as Treasure Island and Alice in Wonderland. In more recent times, authors like Alan Garner and Susan Cooper have written some of the best contempory fantasies, such as Elidor and The Dark is Rising Sequence. I'd be a fool to compare Trick of the Light to them but it is in their spirit that it was formed. Initially it was going to literalaly be a children's adventure, surrounding three children who met the Doctor during the Christmas holidays. I'd just finished working on a pantomime and I'd ambitiously thought that I could enrol some of the young performers I'd been acting with. But I was far too ambitious and the practicalities of getting good performances out of young amateurs in a fairly heavy script, not to mention the transporting and other cares meant that I would have to revise the script and age up the protagonists. In the end it turned out to be a move for the best. By making the three friends students, it brought in a whole new set of opportunities and more of an edge to the story.

I've always enjoyed the kind of story where the mundane is invaded with the fantastic. Ray Bradbury and Tim Powers were also inspirations for this story. Another idea I wanted to try was telling a story from the point of view of a supporting character, where the Doctor would be a mysterious character in someonelse's story. The resulting script wasn't purely like that, the Doctor Who traditional format is hard to resist but I'd say there is an interesting texture to this audio.

Compared to my first audio script Death Deals a Hand which was rigidly planned out before I wrote the script, Trick was an attempt to write in a more stream of consciousnes manner to make it fresher.

Once I'd shown that first draft around a few trusted readers, a slightly more practical approach was required for the three rewrites that followed. You may have noticed a Writer's Guide on the website, well I seem to have broken most of its rules, much to the charign of my fellow writers on this season. My script has a multitude of characters and features Raman in a much more traditional companion role than I've allowed anyone else. There is a reason for that last particular bending of my own rule but I can't reveal it until after the next story.

Now Zoe, we both know, time is relative.

Even as I wrap one story, I have to start thinking of the follow up. "Second Chance" by Adrian Hudson is up next with a much more sensible sized cast and some wonderful ideas. Not to mention Raman's story which is beginning to reveal itself. I'll be in touch again soon, in the meantime please let me know what you think about "Trick of the Light".

Best Wishes
Gareth Preston

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