TT4.71b: Psych Doubt

PREVIOUSLY: Clarke needs Carrie to talk to his sister Mary about time travel, to help Julie. Luci spoke to Mary about her past.

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PART 71b: PSYCH DOUBT

minibannernew“Carrie!”

Carrie turned away from the cheerleading discussion she was having with Steve. “Clarke? What the hell are you doing out here, you’ve got a game in under ten minutes!”

“I have to know your answer,” the blonde boy insisted. “Before the game. About whether or not you’ll talk to Mary about you-know-what. Chartreuse said you’d think about it!” he reminded as Carrie opened her mouth.

The head cheerleader paused, then flashed a smile in Steve’s direction. “Go tell the others we’ll be running routine six to start. Laurie takes point, she’s been acting like a bundle of energy all week.” Carrie’s fellow cheerleader nodded at her, then as he went to join the others, the blonde returned her attention to Clarke.

“Clarke, you HAVE to realize this is neither the time nor the place.”

“Carrie, please, YOU have to know there’s no way I can concentrate on the game, not with this foremost on my mind.”

Carrie shifted her gaze to the side, tugging on a strand of hair. When she spoke, she kept her tone carefully neutral. “Okay Clarke. Because it’s you… and because of what you’ve done for me and Julie in the past… I’ll agree this ONE time, to do what I can to convince your sister. But there’s a condition!”

Clarke regarded the index finger which she was now jabbing upwards at his chin, and at the cold intensity of her gaze. “Name it.”

***

Mary looked down at the phone receiver in confusion before lifting it back up to her ear. “Did you just ask me if I enjoyed your school’s first basketball game of the year?” she asked, mildly amused.

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TT4.71a: Shrink Rap

PREVIOUSLY: In Book 3, Carrie destroyed the time machine and Julie broke up with Clarke.

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PART 71a: SHRINK RAP

minibannernew“Okay…” The word was hesitant, unsure. “Phil, you know what you just said, right? You’re telling me that, last November, or just under a year ago, Julie stole a time machine. Which she used to travel BACK to the year when she was born – whereby she tried to prevent her own BIRTH??”

“I know, it sounds crazy,” Clarke admitted. “And since then, Julie’s used it to stop people from the future who want to mess with our timeline. But Mary, I swear to God, it’s all true! And since Julie can’t explain any of that stuff to her regular psychologist, you’re the only one who can help her! After all, you’re studying psych in University!”

Clarke’s sister stared at him for a moment before raking her hand back through her short, dark blonde hair. “Phil… it sure sounds like someone needs counselling…”

“Not ME,” Clarke protested. “Just ask Carrie. Wait, no, she’s not talking to us – ask Frank or Luci. There really IS a time machine, and I think that’s part of why Julie has been adamant about retreating from everyone. Including me!”

Mary sighed and walked over to the window of Clarke’s bedroom, staring at the streetlights outside. She remained that way for a moment before turning back to him. “All right,” she said evenly. “All right bro, if this really IS true, what PROOF do you have?”

Clarke relaxed. “Give me a day.”

***

“What do you mean the time machine has been destroyed?!”

Frank reached under his glasses to press his thumb and index finger to the bridge of his nose. “If you must know, Carrie did it,” he said quietly. “She junked it after she got out of the hospital last week.”

“But… but… WHY??” Clarke asked. He realized that he’d raised his voice, and a few people in the school library were turning to stare. Quickly, he slipped into a chair next to Frank at the table. “Why?” he repeated, softer.

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Resolution Index

TIME & TIED

TT (Time & Tied) presents…

STORY 4: RESOLUTION

You can start reading ARC 1 below, no prior knowledge necessary! Or for added context, consider:

In BOOK 1:

CoverBig

In BOOK 2:

CoverBig2

In BOOK 3:

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A time machine appeared in the present. Carrie learned she was tied to time. Timelines were irrevocably altered.

NOW: The time machine is gone, but one huge issue remains… how can Carrie and the others in her high school fight against the future, when that future is Carrie Waterson herself?

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INDEX: RESOLUTION

**CAUTION: No graphic language, but some issues involving people being psychologically abusive to minors. See T&T Cast List or WFG Listing.

ARC 1: SEPARATED

minibannernew3.01: Shrink Rap + Psych Doubt

3.02: Killer Conversation + That’s a Wrap

 

TTC: Commentary 22

“Time & Tied” PARTS 67-68
1. Original Date Of Completion: NOVEMBER 24, 2003
2. What I Was Doing: In Ottawa, looking for a teaching job
3. Changes of note:
-Removed an allusion to nudity that felt wrong (given the in-narrative author)

“Time & Tied” PARTS 69-70
1. Original Date Of Completion: JULY 30, 2004
2. What I Was Doing: In Ottawa, after an EOT, looking for a teaching job
3. Changes of note:
-Altered an element of Luci’s backstory (see below)
-Different “split” (commercial break) location for balance with:
-Added Carrie’s mental conversations with herself (“Elizabeth”)
-Added references to various timelines at the end

an_frank

FRANK DIJORA
Commission from krakenface

BAD NEWS FIRST

Stats! For anyone who feels like their website views are horrible, lets see if mine are worse. “Time & Tied” started in April 2015. Here we are *20 MONTHS* later. We just finished T&T Book 3. There’s some fun parallels.

Right before starting T&T, I wrote an “April Fools Swap” entry for Jim Z’s “Legion of Nothing” site. April 2015 saw a surge of views from about 100 per month (for Epsilon) up to 300 per month (for T&T). Except by the end of Book 1 (in Sept 2015) I was at my WORST month EVER – only 91 views. (That’s page views, not viewers.)

Right after starting T&T Book 3, I wrote a “Guest Post” entry for Jim Z’s “Legion of Nothing” site. July 2016 saw a surge of views from about 300 per month (for Epsilon) up to 900 in a month. And now, at the end of Book 3 (in Nov 2016) we are at UNDER 200* page views for the month.

Yet it’s even worse. Not only has the site again plummeted to being less hyped during the climax of an arc than the beginning, Book 3 started running *twice-weekly* postings in September. (Including a “Previously” to help occasional readers.) So I have LESS hits on DOUBLE the posts! In fact, when Book 1 ended there were only 85 posts garnering those 91 views in a month. Now there are 176 posts garnering 190* views this month (projected). [*Final total: 220 views.]

Here’s how stats have looked on a weekly basis; the week before Sept 12 was when I shifted to TWO posts per week (can you tell??):

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-11-38-26-pm

Isn’t that worse? I feel like that’s worse. Hell, “Shattered Part 2” (from four weeks ago) has ONLY FOUR VIEWS. Only three days out of the last thirty have over 10 page views (across 170+ posts) and only one of those days is over 15. All this despite getting a 3rd T&T WFG review from ChrysKelly in August (and a shoutout in his serial last month!), which was actually quite good. (Bright spot! Also the blog now has 10 followers. Woo!)

Conclusion: Is the “Time & Tied” story THAT boring? Or that inaccessible? Will no one else tell their friends? I know, I know, I waffle back and forth on making peace with my stats (I’m great but I can’t market) and throwing up posts like this (I fail as a writer). I’m not sure where I am now, but hopefully YOU feel better about yourself. Moving on to story analysis.

JUMBLED ORDER

You might recall that Parts 65-66 were originally completed in April 2004. So the entire “Woodlands” section was written BEFORE those parts (Clarke’s trip around to visit everyone, in the prior commentary). In fact, “Woodlands” came right off Mr. Waterson spotting Mindy’s letter. I changed that here because it’s less like a speed bump now, allowing the prior parts to “arc” together by placing the Mindy fallout after her event, without interruption. Now, “Woodlands” arcs towards the Book’s final climax and denouement instead.

ttani

Old animals sketch circa 2003

I didn’t remove it entirely, because I thought we needed the mental break before the literal Luci/Frank mental “break”. It also foreshadows Glen’s actions (admittedly right before them, with no Clarke in between). Plus, hey, I wrote it, so why not. “Woodlands” itself was an attempt to recapture the “lightning in a bottle” that was Chartreuse’s story earlier in this Book about Tope Diamond. To that end, I think it fails? But does it still work as a comedy piece? … I hope so? (Does anything work on this site?)

There’s another jumbled order coming up – the start of Book 4 will be better served by swapping the order of the next two episodes, one acting as a better recap of this book’s events. Those will mark the last set of entires completed in 2004. Yes, *four years* of on-and-off writing, and the T&T storyline was getting away from me. I’d started it in University, then completed a year of private school teaching, a year of getting a formal Education degree at Queens, and a year of looking for high school work in Ottawa (and scoring a semester Feb-June 2004).

Speaking of teaching… yeeeah… as originally written? Luci was abused by a teacher, not a next door neighbour. (The “backstory element” I mention above.) Yikes. When I went back and looked at that on later edits, I had a serious WTF moment. I was not only disparaging my own profession, I was possibly making people wonder about me. (Hopefully NOT, I’m also not a misogynist like Julie’s father, but still, I imagine some cannot separate a writer from their works.) Changed at the first opportunity, and that’s the last I’ll say about it.

Something NOT changed was a sneaky hard date in the Woodlands story: Security Breach 08/22/88. That was the date of Carrie’s mother’s disappearance. And thus the date of the second time travel trip (Frank’s first). I didn’t see any other way to make reference to that in Hank’s story, so I simply left the cryptic numbers there… only if you’re reading this now, will you know it’s a reminder that no, I have not forgotten about Elaine Waterson. Hey, if that’s not incentive for Book 4, I don’t know what else is.

Book 3 is now DONE, as is Timeline 3, in a sense. The picture you see above is a sketch I made during the “Woodlands” writing. Laugh at my inability to draw. Let’s now get more into the rest, with spoilers for Books 1-3 only (not the one that’s incoming).

SPOILER SECTION

XoversCSpoilers for the past are unavoidable, I’m putting a bow on things.

Did we have character arcs this time? Carrie was, of course, coming to terms with her temporal abilities – first through interactions with Chartreuse, then everyone, then Glen, and finally on her own. Hence how I labelled the arcs. I’m not sure how much she grew as a character; in some sense, she’s regressed, closing everyone out again. I hope her motivations make sense. Did you see any growth?

Frank’s arc went from being unsure how to behave in a relationship with Luci to literally giving up his life for her. Luci’s ran in parallel, as she tried to figure out her own emotional well being, while coming to terms with how demons from her past were a hidden influence on her present. Julie’s arc was largely building her back up to the force she’d been in Book 1, following her psychological crash in Book 2. Clarke didn’t really have an arc; one could argue he needs to find himself, he’s so tied to Julie – and now she’s cut him off.

Secondary characters? Well, Chartreuse’s arc was tied to her increased romantic feelings about Carrie. It was cut off by Carrie (but will keep arcing forwards). Corry’s arc involved his hubris and overconfidence, and now that Megan’s in charge, he may need to admit he can’t handle everything he thinks he can. Laurie and Tim didn’t have much of an arc (they’ll get more later). We saw more of Lee’s family, but again not much to him. Glen hasn’t really grown as a character either, he’s largely tied to plot.

Hey, plot! Hello! Hopefully timelines make sense.

We got our first explanation of Timelines 1-4, and that WILL be helpful knowledge in Book 4 (don’t worry, no memorizing, it will be in context). They’re actually something that came out of the re-edits more than the original writing. We also got expansion on the “Future War” that Shady discussed back in Book 2. Glen (Glinephanis) and Mindy (Mindylenopia) are Temporals, in a conflict with the Mundanes. Carrie remains at the heart of it – she is tied to time.

Related, Temporals have the power to (temporarily) control people’s minds, the way Shady did. (Except Lee’s immune!) The time machine has now been destroyed, but Carrie has demonstrated an ability to time travel without it. Again related, Glen indicated that Carrie has the power to bring others along on the time trips she takes. (Alas, not Chartreuse?) There is a “temporal gun” that Linquist apparently invented for shutting down someone like Carrie.

Plot loose ends? I don’t think there are many, in that a reader potentially has enough information to extrapolate the situation however they like. Does Carrie succeed? Do the relationships come together? Does Linquist return? Well, hey, what do you want to happen? I feel like Julie and that note is the only element really dangling out there as “the author’s up to something”. (Am I wrong?)

With that said, there IS a lot we’ll be revisiting in Book 4: Julie’s note. Mindylenopia’s location. Carrie-Chartreuse as a relationship. Megan running the high school. Linquist’s language. Even Carrie’s mother, from way back in Book 1. ALL of which can be read about without prior knowledge, so PLEASE encourage some other readers to join in, maybe??

Do you think I missed anything in my analysis? Was there something you particularly enjoyed, or hated, about Book 3? Are you EXCITED for what’s to come? (Are you out there?)

Remember you can VOTE for T&T at “Top Web Fiction” on a weekly basis. I consistently seem to be hovering at 2 or 3 votes, so thanks for that.

Parts 67/68 were originally “Woodlands Detour” so, uh, “Woodlands Omen”, sure. It was a stand-alone effort, I felt like I needed a similar title. Parts 69/70 were originally “Do You Mind?” so the new title was the topical “Timeline Four”.

Coming This Tuesday: BOOK 4 Begins. Note to self, post the index tomorrow.

TT3.70b: Timeline Four

Previously: Luci’s consciousness became trapped inside Frank’s body with him, all because Carrie wanted to rig up the time machine. Frank took control, for a last ditch effort…

Previous INDEX TO BOOK 4 –>

PART 3.23b: TIMELINE FOUR 2

MiniBanner“Carrie, I…” Frank/Luci turned to look at her, seemingly searching for the words. “I’m sorry,” he said at last. “Please don’t blame yourself here. This is my decision. I know what’s going to happen, but according to our calculations, it’s the only way.”

Carrie sighed back. “Oh, now what are you–” She stopped when she saw the look in Frank’s eyes. And saw not only the quiet intensity there, but somehow, how those same eyes were also pleading desperately with her.

Which was when it first occurred to Carrie to really question why, ever since the plan had been proposed, Luci had not been in control of the body.

“No,” Carrie breathed, the truth of the situation dawning on her. The reason why Frank was experiencing those physical pains as he tried to enact this plan. Along with the explanation for why Luci’s essence would get forced out of Frank’s body. But he wouldn’t… he COULDN’T…

Frank nodded slightly, as if he knew she’d worked it out. “Take care of Luci for me, Carrie.”

“Frank, NO!” Carrie screamed, jumping for him.

He brought Luci’s hand down. The rod slammed into the fuse box. There was a huge shower of sparks, and an explosion of light and sound. Carrie was knocked back off her feet, only dimly aware of the cloud of smoke billowing around her. Only dimly aware of the residual static left in the air, after Luci’s body and the time machine had disappeared. But all too aware of the lethal charge that had been sent through Frank’s body.

Carrie felt like her head was being peeled open like an orange.

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TT3.70a: Timeline Four

Previously: An accident with the time machine placed Luci’s consciousness into Frank’s body. They can communicate while unconscious, and are looking for a way to fix things.

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PART 3.23a: TIMELINE FOUR 1

MiniBannerCarrie frowned. “So… you’re inside Frank’s head… and he’s in there with you… but he can only surface in your dreams?”

Luci/Frank managed to suppress a sigh, poking her/his fork into her/his plate of cafeteria fries. “Repeating that back to us isn’t going to make it any less true, Carrie.”

“Right, okay.” She thought for a moment. “On the bright side, if both essences are available, we have a shot at disint… er, UNintegrating the two of you. Right?”

Luci/Frank shook her head. “I was late to school today because I wanted to keep at the equations. So far, it doesn’t look good. Did you and Glen have any luck talking about the machine itself?”

Carrie shook her head back. “I stayed on the phone with him as long as my dad would let me, but the only scenario we can think of is to have your body – that is, Luci’s – available on the other end of the wormhole when you emerge from your initial trip. You know, when you first got, uh, fused. Granted, it presumes Luci’s essence will be able to find itself – yourself – and then, for the sake of self-consistency, it will require that the resulting version of Frank travels in time, to our present. Where he pretends he’s Luci. Which would be what you’re doing here.”

Luci/Frank wrinkled her nose. “Okay, but since I know I’m NOT pretending, we know THAT plan won’t work,” she reasoned.

“Aha, but how do I know you’re not just *pretending* to not be pretending?” Carrie countered, waggling her finger. Luci/Frank glared. Carrie lowered her hand. “Fine. If it’s any comfort, the longer this goes on, the bigger the temporal headache I seem to be getting. I might not last until your future arrival date.”

“My own body might not last either!” Luci/Frank noted. “When I checked on myself this morning, my body’s pulse was even weaker than last night. Besides, what do we tell my parents, that I went on vacation to Florida??”

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