TTC: Commentary 13

Chapter13“Time & Tied” PARTS 25 & 26
1. Original Date Of Completion: DEC 19, 2001
2. What I Was Doing: Teaching ESL Math & Science
3. Changes of note:
-This was a “pilot episode”, thus got hacked to pieces. See “More Issues” below.

“Time & Tied” PARTS 27 & 28Chapter1214
1. Original Date Of Completion: JUL 1, 2001
2. What I Was Doing: Looking For Work
3. Changes of note:
-Story used to be framed between a Clarke/Laurie conversation, rather than having it only at the end.

“Time & Tied” PARTS 29 & 30Chapter15
1. Original Date Of Completion: JUNE 15, 2001
2. What I Was Doing: Looking For Work
3. Changes of note:
-Originally took place late October, shifted to early November.
-Had to update Luci’s age, I’m terrible at knowing when people are in what grade.

ABOUT THE WRITING

You’ll notice above that the written “completion” order is completely backwards with respect to the publishing order. If you read commentaries back in Book 1, you’ll know that I originally saw the whole story as a single season for a TV show… where, in fact, Parts 29/30 led into Parts 27/28, whereas Parts 25/26 were intended as a completely separate “pilot episode” project. Why change that sequence to publish here? Well, best read those parts first if you want to completely avoid spoilers.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH: It didn’t make sense (to me) to start a new book with a time machine that prematurely ages Luci, largely because that’s not how the time travel really works going forwards. My initial thought was to shuffle chronologically, to start with Grade 9 (27/28) then Grade 10 (25/26) then the present (29/30). The problem with THAT is the lack of time travel to start the book, plus it meant two Luci-centred episodes back-to-back. So, you got the order as presented. The “Pilot Episode” was meant to be an introduction to the whole story anyway. I hope it works.

The “Pilot Episode” itself (Parts 25/26) came about for two main reasons. The first was a desire to find an entry point for new readers. I had created a whole universe of characters, and temporal rules, but it took 24 parts (a half season) to get there! I needed something that would display all these characters and plot points at once. Something which would make people want to go back and read from the beginning – without massively spoiling anything that had come before.

The second reason for the pilot was a job I got in September 2001, as a teacher for ESL students in Math and Science, at a private school. This cut into my writing time, which meant the story caught up with me. Recall that, from 2000, I was writing about “the future of October 2001” – yet that future became NOW. Then the PAST. But as that happened, the pilot was already in the past, as it took place in 2000. While this might be insight in retrospect, I think there was some added comfort in not writing a future story that was happening in the present.

MORE ISSUES

Next problem: The “Pilot Episode” was deliberately twice as long as a regular episode. Meaning 12,000 words (actually 13,636), rather than the usual 6,000 or so. So, why not split it into four parts here? Because that would be bad. There was a LOT of redundant stuff in the original pilot. Extra character descriptions you don’t need in the broader context, talk about school politics which would be SHOWN in Parts 27/28, and so forth. A “stand alone” is necessarily different than something ongoing.

In addition to that, the narrative had a fair bit of Luci (both past and future versions) thinking about things. As the leader of a writing workshop at Queen’s University remarked (when I showed the first page of the “pilot” to them in 2002), there should be more show, less tell. Don’t have Luci worrying about fitting in, show that she’s not actually doing it. So I decided I had to hack the whole thing down to a more reasonable length. There’s only two cut sections I feel bad about.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH: The first cut was a very short piece with Tim, after Luci talked to Clarke. It helped to set up the meeting at the cafe later, and give Tim some lines (the poor guy’s really neglected), but I deemed it superfluous. The second was dialogue between Luci and Chartreuse before the scene in the cafeteria. Chartreuse agrees to take Laurie to lunch, on account of “Luci’s aura being somehow displaced”. I hated to lose that, because Chartreuse. But it didn’t make sense to start Part 26 that way, when the emphasis there needed to be on getting to the mansion.

If you’re REALLY curious, the original “Time Trippers Pilot Episode” is at this link right here, so you can compare. There you have it; there really isn’t much else to say on the writing side, beyond the “changes of note” at the top. I suppose I can point out that I’m trying something new with the drawing, using a “featured image” and repeating a picture across both updates. How’s that working out on the reader side?

SPOILER SECTION

XoversCSpoilers for Book 1 may creep in also.

Character-wise: We are focussing more on Julie and Corry in this Book, for reasons that will shortly become apparent. We saw their first meeting (Part 27), their first major confrontation (Part 28), and how they operate (Parts 25/26). If you are picking up on the fact that Julie’s parents seem to be a factor, pat yourself on the back – but don’t be so sure you know the depth of things. Remember, according to Luci’s time trip, somehow the servants play a role too.

Julie also cut her arm. Things got dark. To say they will get worse is an understatement. After all, if you’ve read Book 1, you may recall Chartreuse had a vision of a gun. Now, for the record, I cut myself too, back in University – but guns, those are outside my comfort zone. So there is NO mass shooting in this story. In case that makes you feel better about reading on.

The other main character who got time this arc is Luci. She has her own nest of psychological issues now, from fitting in socially, to being abducted by a crazy person, to understanding romance, to (eventually) having to time travel back to knock out her past self. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that there is scientific basis for mental and emotional growth to occur asynchronously, though I wasn’t consciously including it. In fact I should probably feel worse about the things I’m doing to the youngest cast member. At any rate, you might sense that Luci’s interactions with Frank and Carrie are different going forwards.

Plot-wise: In terms of continuity, everything ties into the Julie/Corry arcs. The ‘conversation’ with Clarke that Julie references in Part 27 took place from his perspective back in Part 11 (Phil Doubt), and the broken swan Carrie talks about shortly thereafter is the same one from Part 1. We also saw Sue here (with Corry), but it was said in Part 7 that she was reporting to Julie. Oh, and the time machine’s back! (It broke in Part 20.) Just in time for the Corry/Julie friction to reach it’s apex. On Julie’s birthday.

Going forward, we will finally see the “Shady” character again (remember him?), and learn more of Carrie’s part in all of this. Bear with me, I play the long game. Random extra trivia: The book Frank reads (by Paul J. Nahin) in Part 25 is one I own, and when I was in the high school band, we tried to raise money by selling christmas ornaments one year. So that’s based in reality.

Parts 25/26 were simply called “The Pilot”, but when I stripped the dates out into a ‘book’ form, I used the chapter header “Time Zones”. I don’t recall why – pun on zoning out maybe? Thus “Missing Piece” was the addition. Parts 27/28 were originally called “Flashbacks”, so I added “History Lesson”. And Parts 29/30 were called “Growing Pains”, so I added “Search and Rescue”.

Coming This Friday: ARC 2.2 and “Past Meets Future”

Chapter16

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