TTC: Commentary 14

Chapter16“Time & Tied” PARTS 31 & 32
1. Original Date Of Completion: JUL 12, 2001
2. What I Was Doing: Looking For Work
3. Changes of note:
-Fixed inconsistent timeline about 3 or 4 days
-A bit more emphasis on Carrie’s role in paradox

Chapter17“Time & Tied” PARTS 33 & 34
1. Original Date Of Completion: JUL 18, 2001
2. What I Was Doing: Looking For Work
3. Changes of note:
-Retooling of Julie’s conversation with Clarke
-Adjusted the shooting to be from Carrie’s perspective

“Time & Tied” PARTS 35 & 36
1. Original Date Of Completion: AUG 7, 2001
2. What I Was Doing: Looking For Work
3. Changes of note:Chapter18b
-Actual explanation of where Frank’s parents were for Mr Waterson
-Longer stretch of time between the shooting and later events
-Complete rewrite of Frank/Shady dialogue; the original meandered, and they both looked incompetent. Switched to three questions only format.
-Shady’s Algonquin Park reference placed in this part, rather than later

ABOUT THE WRITING

So, a few changes on the site since the last commentary – after some talk over at Web Fiction Guide, I shifted the background to white (versus light blue), put in a better index page with links, and scrapped the “featured image” I’d begun with Book 2. In fact, I’m cutting back on the drawing. It’s being referred to as “amateur”, and while that’s accurate, I don’t want the writing to be seen that way too. After all, I do update a fair bit from 2001, I merely list above the changes “of note”. (I suppose it’s sad that I draw for a webcomic – feel free to let me know if “Any Q-bars” looks worse or better.)

Content-wise, this past trilogy of episodes (in six parts) represents the last of the writing I did between graduating from University, and getting my first full time teaching job. While I did start Episode 18 (and possibly even made it through the upcoming Part 37) in August of 2001, ultimately I shifted gears and wrote “The Pilot” instead. That’s what appeared here previously as Parts 25 and 26 to lead off Book 2. (See Commentary 13 for more information there.) What this means is, you’re now caught up chronologically… Parts 1-36 were all written from October 2000, through to the end of 2001.

As I mentioned in this prior post, I posted the update for Julie’s birthday literally on that date this year, November 12th. Which is the same date in 1955 from “Back to the Future”! Kudos if you picked up on that – it wasn’t a total fluke. Here’s why. The five main characters were all given birthdays when I updated their character file in March 2001. I did this by first slotting them into astrological symbols (which I actually did for more than the main five), then I “randomly” chose a date from 1984 – and I use quote marks, because I had them all born on a Monday.

I’m not sure exactly why I did that. I do remember using my calendar program (no apps back then) to investigate 1984 (except 1986 for Luci), seeing it actually aligned well with 2001 (when the story took place)… for instance, November 12th, 1984 was a Monday and then it turned out that November 12th, 2001 was also a Monday. Since Julie was a Scorpio, she got it for a birthday, and then it only made sense narratively for Corry to use her birthday in a dramatic way.

Able to follow that chain? Incidentally, Monday is also when I always had evening band practice back in high school, which is why Luci and Chartreuse went to band practice here. Of course, having stripped out the hard YEAR dates, this could now be taking place on a Thursday, for all we know. But we know Nov 12th IS a school day! This eliminates such years as 2005, 2006, 2011, and in fact the next two years, 2016 and 2017 (when Nov 12th is on a weekend). Good thing I’m posting this in 2015, or I might get letters, huh? … … Yeah, no. I never get letters.

BACKGROUND CHECK

biged

Worse than amateur art?

Still on the topic of supplementals to the story, you can see another example of my older drawings off to the right. It’s the “closing still” for the show that I envisioned, over which credits would be rolling. The heads are too big for the torsos, and I’m not sure what’s happening with people’s knees, but getting multiple people in one shot was impressive for me at the time. Heights, relative to others, were a pain (and still are).

The drawing was actually planned out rather painstakingly. I still have the pages showing the different pieces, and I’m pretty sure the final picture was made by overlapping sheets and doing some tracing. I first scanned the image in immediately before “Part 32” was completed, on July 11, 2001. Hence why I’m including it here now, even though the image is worse than my usual fare.

The other relevant behind-the-scenes element featured in this latest arc was middle names. I’d always had the idea of using middle names to distinguish time displaced characters. That’s why Carrie’s middle name is “Elizabeth”, and has been since almost Day 1: It’s a hugely versatile name, should I ever need 6 Carries in a room at once. (Which Chartreuse felt like lampshading in her dialogue, apparently.)

Frank got my middle name, “Bernard”, which was indeed the name of my grandfather. “Isabella” simply sounded nice for Luci – which already came up when Linquist abducted her, so she need not have worried about Carrie. I didn’t plan those out in advance. In fact, that’s as far as I got back then – Chartreuse couldn’t go on a time trip yet, not until she provided me with a middle name! Though with her, odds are good that it’s a colour.

For those who are curious about the other birthdays: Carrie, March 26th (Aries). Frank, Sept 3rd (Virgo). Luci, Feb 3rd (Aquarius). Clarke, July 16th (Cancer). And Julie, Nov 12th (Scorpio). Further, the Veniti twins were born May 21 (Gemini, naturally), which I noted back when Julie was goading Corry in Arc 2.1. Chartreuse is a Pisces. Lee might be a Sagittarius. At this point, they’d all be born around the turn of the century, when I was actually writing this – or later, depending on when you discover the story. Gaaah, where did my youth go.

SPOILER SECTION

XoversCSpoilers for Book 1 may also creep in, as some elements are unavoidable.

Character-wise: Let me be clear up front that my parents are wonderful, I call them nearly every Sunday, I have two younger sisters, and girls rock. Julie’s character is in no way reflecting my beliefs about anything, nor those of anyone I know. But we’ve seen now that this story includes perhaps the worst parents, and the most twisted little suicide plot you could ever come up with.

One reason for Julie’s father becoming such a misogynist jerk might have been a need to double down on the parent plot. After all, you probably had a sense that Julie’s parents were the driving force behind her problems – she shut down Carrie when they were brought up in Part 28, etc. So that revelation wouldn’t be a surprise. This level of vitriol? May have been a bit more unexpected. Particularly when coupled with the “fake” attitude her parents display to her peers, on their (rare) visits to town, and the fact that they can demonstrate caring for EACH OTHER. But not to Julie.

Most damning of all, is that Julie’s parents kind of have a POINT. Not about her worth, but I’m dubious that Julie’s actions actually demonstrate that she can run a school, or a company. Julie has no sense of the human element involved. Heck, do teenagers ever really know what such “real life” things are like? Granted, this HAD to be the worst way for her parents to convey that lesson to her. This story has finally found it’s villains, in the elder LaMilles! Or… in Shady? Ah yes, what’s his deal?

Shady finally gets some character time. He was first seen WAY back in Book 1, Part 6 – and not really since then. Yet he seems to be trying to influence things, and if we assume he’s the same guy from the library, he didn’t seem to affect Lee. Hmmm. Was he the same guy? (By the way, did you foresee Lee’s mental immunity when he spoke of blocking alien mind control rays back in Part 23? No? Still surprising you with little details? Good.) We will be seeing more of Lee because of this.

Incidentally, Lars also returned, this time with a van. You might not recall him from a brief cameo at the airport back in Part 3, since if you picked up on THAT, you have a very good memory! Don’t worry, such really obscure things don’t impact the plot. Unless I change my mind about them later!

Plot-wise: The plot is also becoming tied into Shady. He knows about Julie’s actions, so at best he’s a voyeur, and at worst he’s the one who made that call to her (the one Frank doesn’t know about). Oh, and speaking of Julie’s actions, Carrie got shot. Since I know remarkably little about guns, I was trying to stay away from the medical as much as I could while still hopefully being believable. (Having since watched “Sherlock”, and for that matter the 2015 premiere of “NCIS”, I don’t think I’m that far off. At least in terms of fictional storytelling.)

The shooting, by the way, was no surprise to me. That’s why Chartreuse could have a vision of it AGES ago. The fallout that results, this where things got a little more blurry, hence my decision to “spoof” the situation with Hank’s writing at the start of Part 35. I am the sort of person who will write myself into a corner, and then spend days meditating on how to fix the problems I created. If I don’t know, you don’t know, right? Surely this counts for something – come on, I was shooting main characters before shows like “Sherlock” and “NCIS” made it cool!

00TimeMachineI will leave you now with a final puzzle: How exactly does the time machine work? Sure, we’ve seen how it locates in time based on the coin used, but what about in space? Luci pointed out a lot of those problems back in Book 1, and offered work-arounds, but the original programming question has never been resolved. You now have all the pieces. The truth will come in the next part. Hint: Even if you never read Book 1, you saw what happened spatially when they traveled to the future! Extra hint, I’m a math teacher.

Parts 31/32 were originally called “Past Meets Future”, the “Frequent Flyers” addition was a reference to the Julie flyer and resuming time trips. Parts 33/34 were originally called “Julie’s Secret”, I included “Shots Fired” for obvious reasons. Parts 35/36 were called “The Wounded”, now followed by “Question Everything”.

Coming This Friday: ARC 2.3 and “Geography & Geometry”

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