What follows are some random musings on writing Unexpected. If you're deeply invested in the Doctor/Sarah OTP, or if you haven't read the story, you might not want to read this, otherwise
I didn't really have a plan, going into Unexpected. I had the drabble and I had a scene at the end which was altered dramatically for the actual chapter (when she gave birth). And I had a fic I'd written but never posted, because I couldn't get it to a point where I was happy with it, about Sarah during the time war which just slipped into place.
I used pieces of that fic verbatim or reworded for backstory. I used other bits as background references or throwaway lines. I rewrote and fleshed out brief mention of Eight's regeneration for War Story. There's more that will probably come out at some time, in some form. And some of it is just there, in my head and may never be written down.
What I've been thinking about recently is the romance in that (and in other stories I've written). I find my stories come across as more Sarah/Doctor OTP than I actually believe. Yes, I'm invested in the pairing, but not to the exclusion of all else.
With Unexpected, I'm not sure what happened. Maybe because it was a story about them getting back together after so many years, not really wanting to talk about what they had lost. And maybe a little of it was the comments I was getting about Sarah/Ten OTP. Because it was never intended to be.
In my head it was always Sarah/Doctor/Romana. But if they weren't talking about what they had lost, she was the last person they would speak of. Sarah could speak about the Doctor...she'd been doing it for years with Jo, Tegan and Liz, but Romana was part of the things she'd trained herself not to speak about...not to even think about. And let's not even talk about the Doctor and his avoidance issues.
I expected their reunion to be more mushy, but none of them are really the mushy type. In my head, Susan moves out eventually, but Romana stays with Sarah for the foreseeable future.
During the year they spent on Trion, there was a very casual Sarah/Doctor/Turlough relationship. If she hadn't been nearly nine months pregnant when Turlough visited, he probably would have ended up in her bed rather than on the sofa.
Other things I left out.
- Science geekery - I had some background research about the DNA and when it would be possible to scientifically determine anything from foetal DNA. Most of that got dropped, because I was writing a story, not a science article.
- Telepathic/Empathic bond between parents and child - I had some technobabble about that, but it wasn't really necessary. The short explanation is that being telepaths, there is a telepathic bond between parents and child which corresponds to the human mating/nesting instinct. Very strong during the pregnancy and birth, it weakens as the child grows more independent. Sarah was a mess because she wasn't expecting this and her human brain wasn't equipped to deal with it, and so interpreted it in a very human fashion.
- Relationships - Nat and Josh. I didn't go into as much detail as I'd planned about Nat's suspicions about Sarah/Josh. I also didn't follow up on the Jo & Nat relationship. They ended up good friends in my head.
- Relationships - Liz and the Brig. I toyed with the idea of having them get together again, but then I watched Battlefield and fell in love with Doris, so I couldn't do it. It wasn't relevant anyway.
- The Orbus Postremo - I meant to follow up on the cults, but aside from some attempts on Sarah's life, I just didn't have room.
- Torchwood - see the Orbus Postremo.
- Harry - I thought he was going to show up, but he never did.
- Mr. Smith and the sonic lipstick - Got a few passing mentions, but Sarah and the Doctor never really got up to the attic.
- Relationships during the war - this was the tricky one. There were things I meant to make explicit, but couldn't fit organically in the story.
- Susan - David died of old age before the war, and Susan came back to Gallifrey when the war broke out. She's still very young for a Time Lord (under 100) and sees Sarah as a mother figure, even though she's older than Sarah.
- Leela - Was deeply in love with Andred and vice versa, and mourned greatly when he died late in the war. She died in battle soon after.
There was more, of course. About Sarah's antagonistic friendship with Calla, Sarah's life on Gallifrey during the early days of the war, what happened in Brighton and when they got to Gallifrey. I'm sure I'll get to some of this soon.
Just to whet your appetite, I am working on another long epic. I'm not going to go into much detail now, because it's still churning about in my head, but it's going to involve Sarah, Jo, Seven and Ace and a bit of a crossover with another series, which shall remain nameless at the moment. I'm hoping to have enough written to start posting it sometime in June. ;)