TTC: Commentary 11

“Time & Tied” PARTS 21 & 22

DAE_MathTans1. Original Date Of Completion: MAY 21, 2001
2. What I Was Doing: Looking For Work
3. Hard Date Change: Was Sun. Oct 7, 2001
4. Other changes of note:
-Bit of tweaking to the Carrie-Julie conversation in her room.
-The section with Luci and Corry in the music room was originally the teaser for the next episode.
-Adjustments to Hunt’s dialogue about searching lockers.


Back in 2001, this latest episode was written in the week immediately following the previous one. I was rather enthusiastic about things. Closer to the present, today marks the 365th day of this blog’s existence (it started August 31st, 2014). Are others as enthusiastic about the content?

Well… let’s say this post is my warning to any who think their fortunes will improve by publishing online fiction.

Individual days are full of variability. Some days no hits (like Thu Aug 27), other days have hits, my August peak being 20 on the 8th. (Then zero on the 9th…) Basically, let’s grab an overall “monthly” view, to clear out the static. For context: My first serial “Numbers Game” ran from Sept 2014 to Nov 2014 (3 months). My second serial “Wish Fulfilment” ran from Dec 2014 to March 2015 (4 months). “Time & Tied” has been going since April 2015.


Exact #s 2014: 6, 156, 100, 118, 119; 2015: 119, 133, 108, 282, 359, 355, 147. Final Aug Count: 144

Your first instinct might be to say “T&T” was received better… but there’s two events disguising the truth. The first was the “April Fools Swap”, where I wrote an episode for “Legion of Nothing” and Lucy Weaver wrote an episode for me. I got over 50 views (56) on April 1. (Never happened before, or since.) And that was before T&T got going. Though I’ll grant that some of the 147 views that week might have been for Part 1 here.

The second event was Billy Higgins (of Godpunk and more) writing a review for Web Fiction Guide, on May 20th, shortly after T&T was listed on their site. Again, for the week of May 18th, I got a spike in views (to 109), over 30 of them coming on the 21st. EXCEPT most didn’t return in June to read more parts. Related, May saw 55 total referrals from “Web Fiction Guide” – a number which plummeted to 9 in June (under Twitter, which had 17). This explains the spikes in April and May. So why is June high in terms of views?

Depressingly, there is some bizarre script/bot out there, and almost EVERY day in June, it would hit Parts 6, 7 and 8. Only those. Over and over. PART 5? ZERO HITS. Parts 6, 7 and 8? 29 hits each. PART 9? ZERO HITS. Based on this, remove at least 115 of the views (the bot was also hitting the commentary between 6 and 7). Alternatively, something of more relevance: T&T PART 1 saw 12 hits in June. PART 2? NONE. Zero hits there since May. No one kept reading.


If I was in one of my depressive moods, I’d say no. I don’t really have a recovery position from this. But I’m vaguely optimistic, so let’s try. 112 people have seen T&T Part 1. 25 people went on to T&T Part 2. Then 22 to Part 3 (granted, one is in August, so couldn’t have come from 2 directly, but work with me). The sharp drop occurs with Part 9 (after that bot thing), which only ever had 4 views.


Lyn (linear) & Carrie

This means the majority of people who continued to #2 – went further. At least a bit. And those who stopped saw less than half the main characters, so they couldn’t have hated Chartreuse. Moreover, it wasn’t until after I went to ConBravo that I tidied up my homepage with the READ MORE links, so maybe people didn’t click individually, and read on the homepage! There may be more than … Okay, Part 20 only has 5 hits. Is it good or bad that I know none of them could be relatives?

I also have 3 people following/subscribed to my blog, so they wouldn’t show up in the stats. The Facebook page has 5 likes. Can we make a case for 6 people somehow? Because the largest number of votes I *EVER* got in “Epsilon” was 6 (back in “Wish Fulfilment”, part 3), so MAYBE we can make a case for me being no WORSE than I was many months ago? … Look, personified math is doing okay, so it can’t be that the writing seriously sucks. Can it?

I’m pretty sure it’s my (lack of good) marketing. Also Wildbow (at Web Fiction Guide) has pointed out that his popular “Worm” serial took over a year to get passable stats and feedback. And while the first ever comment I got on an actual PART of T&T was only last week, I do get some remarks through Twitter, and Scott’s commented on Commentaries like this one, and I had that one WFG review. So… I don’t know, progress since “Epsilon”?? Oh look, a straw. *grasps*

Again, this post is my warning to any who think their fortunes will improve by publishing online fiction. Thanks for coming out, maybe spread the word, let’s move on.



XoversCSpoilers (up to part 22) follow.

It was a bit tempting to end this Book after Part 21, with Chartreuse falling unconscious. Because (along with Corry’s previous song) we’re already into foreshadowing Book 2, plus at this stage a new book may be my only chance to rope people in. But while that would be a fun tease for me, it wouldn’t be a very nice wrap-up, seeing as we’re not quite done with Carrie. Her arc is almost complete, so two more parts/weeks remain.

As I alluded to in the last commentary, Carrie’s self-revelation was originally here, after the final betrayal by Julie. The revisions work better (at least in my opinion) as it means Carrie changed more because of herself, and less because of the external actions. (“You’ve changed” was an addition I put into Julie’s dialogue.) Also useful was that Part 20 provided a better chance for inner reflection by Carrie, as compared to what happened here.

Plot-wise, Julie now knows most of the things about the time machine that Carrie, Frank and Luci do. (I thought it was worth including that Julie-Carrie conversation when writing part 21, partly to remind readers of the facts. Don’t know if I needed to?) Add Clarke, and here’s our core five characters. Meanwhile, we must now add Chartreuse and Tim to the circle of those who suspect something, with Corry, Laurie and Lee only involved on the periphery. Their time is coming.

Why drugs in the locker? At the time, I wanted an offence that could get a person suspended, but not kicked out – or arrested. I don’t THINK teenagers raiding medicine cabinets for prescription medications was a thing during the initial writing (though I do know I saw it in a CSI: Miami episode at some point in the 2000s), but either way, I felt it worked well enough. Being a teacher, I also think things are more lenient in the present than they were fifteen years ago. It’s not so simple to get kicked out of school, “no child left behind” and all that; Hunt’s dialogue has had minor rewrites over time.

Character-wise, you probably didn’t NEED a reason to hate Julie and Corry even more. That said, there’s a bit more to that dynamic coming. Meanwhile, I’m also not sure if you needed a reason to LIKE Chartreuse even more, but whether it’s putting herself in danger or bringing people together, she’s become a real break-out character. Not bad for someone who had no last name when created! Incidentally, knowing which classes the students were all taking (in their schedules, as mentioned in Commentary 08) helped in writing here, to get a sense of who would see what.



One last note – I decided to play around with images a bit this time too (after starting that math webcomic on August 3rd, my drawing needs work). Chartreuse was looking up – and I made her nightdress a version of “Vermilion” (red-orange) after the green (“chartreuse”) dress of the dance. Laurie’s clothes are the same colour pattern as Carrie’s last outfit, a nod to how she likes her fellow cheerleader. And Carrie’s face in profile is the first time I’ve attempted a profile image in ALL my drawing of the last five years. So… publishing this isn’t completely for naught. I guess.

Episode 11 was originally called “Serious Matters”. Even Chartreuse got serious! The second part I titled “Locker Up” for the obvious pun (“lock her up”, as well as the “locker” being the next plot point coming “up”). Next, Carrie’s circle of friends officially shifts away from Julie, concluding the arc and the book. But with a final twist that I hope you won’t anticipate.

Coming This Friday: “Rock Bottom”


  1. You aren’t tagging, are you? Any time the Internet is ignoring you, it means that SEO is a problem.

    I know we’ve discussed this but I can’t remember: have you ever tried to make this stuff pedagogically relevant?


    1. I tag my individual characters, more as a reference while on site. I don’t know what I’d tag externally; I mention/hashtag the words “Serial” and “TimeTravel” when I post to Twitter. I don’t think I’m going to be found on a search engine anyway (unless you search ‘mathtans’). For that matter, I got a hit from the phrase “she saucily let her short skirt blow up” this month which has never happened in story (“saucily” does appear in Part 17), so the internet is weird.

      My entry into “Web Fiction Guide” has the additional tags of ‘urban fantasy’, ‘fantasy’, ‘high school’, ‘teenagers’ and ‘angst’… that site gets me a half dozen refers per month, on average. None seem to continue beyond the first entry.

      As to pedagogy, the fiction I publish here is another step removed from my “Personified Math”… so while I can sneak in a thing or two over there, on this blog that’s a bit like saying “Have your wizards do more practical science”. I’m liable to lose what few wizard fans I have and gain nothing. The only real link to my teaching job is how it takes place in a high school anyway. Thanks for the thoughts though! You are my fourth unique commenter.


      1. I think that’s how you’re going to get more visibility, though. Maybe the visibility will come through your other blog.

        I don’t disagree with your point, though. I have a second blog under my real name that I’m quite fond of, but it didn’t get hooked into Google and it has maybe .05% of the traffic my anonymous blog does, and there’s not much I seem to be able to do about it.


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