Friday, July 2, 2010

The Headaches Of Time Travel

When I first wrote some of the plot for my Expired Reality series, I included time travel because I thought it would be fun to experiment with. I grew up as a huge fan of Back to the Future, really got into the Terminator series, and I even took a decent interest in The Butterfly Effect - the first one of course, not the crappy ones that were made afterward.

My first adventure in writing about time travel was mention of my main character, David Corbin, traveling briefly to the future. No big deal. But when I started writing the first book in my Black Earth series, Black Earth: End of the Innocence, which actually takes place 100 years before my Expired Reality series, I swore to myself that I would never include time travel that presented a character traveling to the past. I know that once you send a character into the past, you have to make sure all of the dominoes are set up accurately in order to portray a realistic present and/or future. A ripple in time causes so many headaches in the writing world, and presents a massive chore in regards to consistency issues, which are already a challenge to keep track of in a long-running series.

Despite my determination not to include time travel in Black Earth, I did. A character - Professor Howard Grey - traveled from the future to change his reality's past. Grey wanted to bring special technology to those in his past so they could be better prepared to go up against their dark future. I realized that Grey was incredibly vital to the plot of the Black Earth series as a whole, and so I caved in despite my protests and let time travel stay in the story.

Because of this, an alternate timeline was created. An alternate reality really, where Grey's actions in the past sent shockwaves into the future, changing it from the one he had come from to a completely new one. I'm not going to explain all of the different theories of time travel here because everyone has their own theory of what 'would happen' and 'could happen' if a character time traveled. Needless to say, it's created a headache for me as a writer, considering the book it is featured in is the first in a decently sized series.

Next came my draft of Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - the second book in my Black Earth series. Another time traveling character popped into existence, despite my volatile protests, this one traveling back in time from the alternate reality that Grey created by coming back in time himself. *sigh* Anyone have any Excedrin?

This new character - her name is simply Jennifer for purpose of this blog post - arrived in Black Earth to change her own destiny and, because she arrived after Professor Grey did, she ended up creating another alternate future. This alternate future that she created is the Expired Reality series. Lends nicely to the name of the series, but it has sent my head spinning in so many different directions. I get motion sickness pretty easily, so I'd really appreciate it if someone let me off this ride soon or at least pass me a barf bag.

Now I have to keep a very close eye on what direction the technology, the politics, the social system of Black Earth is heading in and make sure it ties in with where Expired Reality is at when I reveal the new rewrites I'm currently doing. Oh, the intricasies of writing science fiction. :P

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