Chronology of Stories at Always the Third Doctor

The chronological order in which Jeri's stories are written

This is the list of stories presented in the order in which I wrote them. Click here for a list of the stories as they occur in BBC canonical order.


A lot of personal tragedies hit me from 1992 - 1993. I had published thirteen children's adventures books and a dozen short stories previously, but after so much upheaval, I could no longer write. Working on the theory that when a person gets his legs smashed up, he has to learn to walk again by crawling first, I realized I had to start over again. So I went back to Doctor Who and started writing. It was like coming home. One thing that personal grief and pain did for me was clear away illusions. As soon as I started writing Doctor Who fiction, I wanted to write Doctor Who fiction, and I believed that I could be trained to write entertaining Doctor Who fiction. I knew I would probably never get published professionally as a DW writer, but I still passionately wanted to write it. At that point, I had seen very few episodes that featured Liz or Sarah, and so for me, writing Doctor Who meant writing the Third Doctor and Jo.


I began to obtain video tapes of the Third Doctor era. Watching them generated a lot of story ideas in me, as well as some revisions in my thinking about the Doctor. But this was the year that Jon Pertwee died, and my sorrow is reflected in several of the stories I produced in the second half of that year. But good fiction writing has to focus on the reader, and I tried to do that. Yet the stories also show the heart of the writer. Night time and darkness figure in all of the stories, even the fairly light hearted Hounds and Hares. To my surprise, Hounds and Hares, which resembled a Hardy Boys book more than a proper Doctor Who story, and was my first story to feature Sarah Jane, brought in a landslide of readers. It is one of the most popular stories I have written.


The year of learning the craft all over again. I was also working towards my third degree black belt, and everything that year was practice, training, and the emphasis on craftsmanship. It was no different with my writing, and under Rebecca Anderson's influence I paid more attention to style and descriptive narrative. JFGTESAR and The Outsider became regular critics for me, and I am deeply indebted to all of them for their insights, corrections, and observations. With the writing of Strange Darkness, my growing appreciation for forensic-style SF took shape. The story was successful, and I found that I love to write this type of mystery-adventure more so than any other type.


The year of change and development. Wrote my first Doctor Who story to feature Liz Shaw. Also brought Sarah Jane Smith back in with the Christmas story. The stories took on a slightly more meaningful and philosophical tone, but I did not want to detract from the action, the forensic quality, or the science. My emphasis on forensic-style SF is most apparent in this year's stories, and Liz Shaw, of course, is an excellent companion for that type of story.


The year of figuring out Liz Shaw. Somebody wrote and told me that I was the reigning fanfic writer for Liz Shaw, which was really intimidating to me, as it is so difficult to write about Liz. I focused on completing Season Seven in my canon. I enjoyed it, and Paul Gadzikowski's illustrations for Lab Mice were a jewel that made that story shine. But at the same time I became tired of struggling so hard to gather research, find information, and write stories that always had character conflict in them (ie, Season Seven stories). I wanted to complete Season Seven just to get it finished and never have to work on it again.


The year of struggling for ideas, and the year of one super-duper idea. Insiders had started as a Jo story, then I had expanded it as a Liz story, but in the end it became a Sarah Jane story. The freshness of this story and my pleasure in writing it showed me that, otherwise, writing Dr. Who fiction was getting more and more difficult to do. I was within sight of my goal to double the canon, and I was glad that the end was in sight. I was not getting ideas like I used to, and my focus had shifted to other topics to write about. Although Christmas After Dark does have some really dark humor in it that is rare in my stories, it was the weakest of the five Christmas stories, another indicator to me that I had said just about all I could say in these stories. The Christmas story certainly showed the loss of wonder that had characterized the earlier stories. Insiders brought some of this freshness and wonder back and was well received, but I knew I would stop when the canon was doubled.


So many people had asked me to do a Brigadier story that I saved one of the last slots for the Doctor and Lethbridge Stewart. Mysterious Gentleman makes reference to Sherlock Holmes, but it is as close to a buddy movie and a road movie as I could get in a Doctor Who story, and it draws from the mix of mystery and screwball comedy found in the THIN MAN movies that feature William Powell and Myrna Loye. The weakest aspect of Mysterious Gentleman is the mystery itself, but it was written more as a character piece and a chance to do some comedy. I will have to let others comment on Death and Toliman. Did I go out with a bang? or a whimper? The readers will have to tell me.

There are times, when I think about what Doctor Who has meant to me in terms of its constant optimism and wonder in the face of this vast universe, and its incredible quality of valuing what is unique and youthful, that I thrill again to the sense of story that it sparks in me. Thinking about Doctor Who makes me want to write stories, even if the stories are not Doctor Who stories. There's something of myth, folklore, legend, mystery, delight, and great, familiar comfort in Doctor Who. After writing almost 200 episodes, I ran dry, but I still love Doctor Who, my Doctor Who, which is Always the Third Doctor, and always will be.

Best wishes,
Jeri Massi
July, 2001

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