TTC: Commentary 27

“Time & Tied” PARTS 88-90
1. Original Date Of Completion: AUGUST 27, 2009
2. What I Was Doing: Full Time Contract Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-Originally went to Carrie’s 45th birthday, specified as 2029
-Constant attempts to upgrade Clarke’s “phone” with every edit
-Future Luci is now in medicine, was teaching
-Luci waited in the cafe and at first spoke only with Frank
-Luci used to have tech-tech glasses (Julie gets them later)
-Now in “Timeline Three” (was a technobabble “spiral time loop”)
-Luci gave alien probe backstory in the cafe (not later)
-Laurie only protested helping Mindy after they met future her
-Luci gave Frank and Tim disguises to meet with Mindy

4. Additions of note:
-Laurie’s perspective, with her backup plan in Miami
-Inserted Chartreuse communicating to Carrie via crystal
-All “Frank being dead” reactions (it hadn’t been “Timeline Three”)
-All “prototype temporal gun” references (they’d brought the gun)
-New flashback with Tim, where Chartreuse said she had the gun
-Luci’s explanation of ways Carrie can temporally mess with them
-Luci connecting that explanation to prejudice towards redheads

“Time & Tied” PARTS 91-93
1. Original Date Of Completion: AUGUST 30, 2009
2. What I Was Doing: Full Time Contract Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-They’d met Julie in a limo outside a pizza place, with Luci
-Julie had argued Mindy would die whether she helped or not
-Laurie asked about Corry, prompting Julie’s revelation
-Julie left; Frank never stopped her
-Mindy claimed it was Glen’s idea to create Carrie
-Carrie/Chartreuse scene had been Carrie/Glen & much shorter
-Had been no fireworks to draw attention to Laurie as Mindy
-Frank fired the temporal gun once, to help Mindy
-Activation of Mindy’s time jump was different

4. Additions of note:
-New discussion of predestination among time travel group
-Julie’s remarks about Luci doing genetics work
-Entire Julie/Luci reconciliation scene
-Frank’s talk with Mindy about her destiny
-All Lee scenes (including Megan, Tim & Glinephanis refs)
-All Laurie/Chartreuse talk (including Linford’s son)
-All of the “Redux” bleedthrough, up to Carrie in Miami

FIGHT THE FUTURE

Yeah, LOTS of changes now; see Spoilers below for the details. I want to talk here about how this story got resurrected, leading to those changes.

Back in Commentary 24, I’d mentioned this story existed online with my old “Sympatico” website (in 2006). That index was updated in late August 2009 to list all 44 episodes (45 with the Pilot), along with a link to information about “Seasons 3 to 5” which I’d decided weren’t going to happen. After TEN years, the story was complete. It was then shelved indefinitely. I decided it had no future.

What first fought that future was “Harper Voyager” looking for new book submissions three years later. No agent needed. This story was the closest thing I had to a publishable work.

So, I spent the start of October 2012 pulling together the first 12 entries of then “Time Trippers” into an 80,000 word novel, “Awareness”. In the process of pulling it together, I edited to remove all mention of hard dates (1999, 2029, and so forth), also FINALLY changing the first sentence from “At the back of a rather nondescript two story house, a window rose.” to “A time machine. That would solve everything.” Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Here was my submitted synopsis:

“The mysterious arrival of a time machine into a small town acts as a catalyst for a group of high school students. It brings to the forefront a number of issues, chief among them how Carrie (the girl who discovered it) was affected by the disappearance of her mother, the numerous difficulties involved in the taking of time trips as raised by her unlikely companion Frank, and the disturbingly obsessive actions of her best friend Julie. As the story progresses, centered almost entirely upon a set of teenagers at the school, friends and enemies begin to turn up in the unlikeliest of places, which results in new allegiances and more questions than there are answers.”

Old picture of an older Luci. From “Escalation”, Part 29. No idea why the drastic height change.

Nothing came of that (obviously; I heard back Jan 23, 2013). But it did pull the story back into my conscious mind. In March 2013, I re-sketched all the characters. By February of 2014, I had completed similar edits through the rest of Season One, with a second novel, “Escalation”. (That effort was modified more, in that it started with the characters in Grade 9 before blending in the “Luci Pilot” and chopping it’s size down for use as Chapter 2; see Commentary 13 for more.) Then I started into Season Two edits.

At “Anime North” (May 2014), I commissioned art of many characters (Carrie, Frank, Luci, Chartreuse). In July 2014, I posted Chapter 7 (the “Back to the Future” tribute) to my personal blog. By July 10th, I had completed edits on Book 3, “Destruction”, and by Sept 2nd, on Book 4, “Resolution”. (Which did not have the above edits yet.) In fact, before finishing the Book 4 edits, in the summer of 2014, I’d started work on the sequel, “Season 3” – in part because I’d just given up on my personified math serial (after 3 years of seemingly little interest), and yet I wanted to keep writing.

The epiphany hit a few months after starting this very blog. Time & Tied’s “Season 3”, with Carrie at University, was going to be SO much better than what had come before. And it would make no sense to put that story out FIRST and then these four “prequel” books AFTER. Rather, I needed to build towards “Season 3” aka “Book 5”. Even better, any feedback I got on the old stuff could only help me move forwards.

I began running “Time & Tied” here in April 2015.

It flopped. HARD.

Needless to say, the “Season 3” sequel hasn’t been touched since July 20, 2015.

FINAL STATISTICS

My first major talk of statistics on this site was back in Commentary 11, published at the one-year mark (of the blog, not T&T). The site had seen a bump that April 2015 due to a guest post elsewhere, and again in May 2015 due to a WFG review… and yet, through June, July, August and September, no one read into Part 2. NO ONE. (Until Oct 16, 2015.) I’d never even had anyone COMMENT on the T&T story itself (not including these commentaries) until late August, five months in (on Part 21).

No one wanted to read the story, even with a decent review. And the few who were already reading couldn’t seem to pull anyone else in.

As I said in Commentary 15, “thank goodness I restarted personified math (as a webcomic) in August [2015] … it keeps me going”. (Personified math isn’t working? Try “T&T Season 3”. T&T isn’t working? Guess it’s back to reinventing personified math.) One of these days, I thought… one of these days, I’ll write something that others will enjoy reading and sharing. I stopped T&T here entirely after Book 2, and went back to “Epsilon” for an arc. Seeing voting helped morale.

For current statistics, we’re now well over two years in, and I still have a “zero view” day on my blog – March 12th, 2017. Amusingly enough, that was the same day my “best ever” view day was restored to 113 views from 108. (It’s a WordPress daylight savings time glitch. June 28, 2016 had been knocked down by 5 views, as WP seems to simply slide their timing forward and back, meaning hits between 12am to 1am slide between days.) But we shouldn’t be so granular! Right?


Above, you can see what things look like monthly (April 2017 is highlighted, as it ends today). Note November 2016, two years in, and two months after I started publishing twice a week instead, was all the sadness. So many more posts. So little interest.

But, contrast in December, when Mez and Tartra started reading, giving a massive boost… so if we average those, we do seem to have levelled off at 400 or so views in any one month. Which STILL represents no growth over a full year, despite the increase in volume (implying a decrease in readers) with me never missing a post. (For reference, this is post #225.)

And yet, despite the generally dismal reception, there are occasional bright spots.

The fact that YOU’RE reading this, for one. Heck, the story now has three decent reviews at WFG, and at least some people here I’d call regular commenters. That’s a change. My reposting at RRL has a regular commenter too. (We shall not speak of Wattpad.) And just this past week, I suddenly had two consecutive days with over 40 views, as one person went through the archive. (That hadn’t happened yet in 2017. Meaning I reached 10k views before my birthday, unexpected.)

Perhaps it’s little things like this which explain why, back in Summer 2016, I kept going. Stubbornly editing into Book 4. The new Chartreuse parts at the start (referenced in Commentary 23) were done in August 2016. I even set Personified Math aside to better focus, and completed all of the new work you’re reading now in October 2016. (Right before that month of sadness, AGH. Is fate trying to tell me something?)

In conclusion? Aside from some sketching for this final run, and minor edits for RRL posts, I haven’t done any work on T&T since last year. It’s all reposts. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know I’m just one more cis white guy in a sea out there, and there’s many other individuals and stories which should probably get more attention than this not-very-diverse tale does… and yet. I keep getting pulled back into this story. Am I the only one that deeply into it?

I did at least reread “Season 3” this year. With it’s 12,000+ words, plot info, and character sketch. In it’s 2015 archive. Does that T&T world have a future worth fighting for? I used to think so. Maybe I’ll think so again. If it materializes a year from now, would anyone here still be around? Would anyone new even care to read it? I honestly don’t know. Which I guess is better than being sure the answer is “no”.

SPOILER SECTION

Spoilers for the past are unavoidable, Book 4 pulls in all the plot lines.

I’ve now included “Additions” to my tallies above, because there’s so many things that weren’t mere “Changes”. The original two-parter from 2009 had been four entries, or 8 halves (#42 and #43, roughly 13,000 words). It’s now SIX entries, or 12 halves (roughly 24,000 words) of which we’ve seen five to this point. (I know we’re not at Episode 93 yet, I’ll avoid talking spoilers for that.) There were two reasons for the massive expansion.

The first reason was the “Timeline Three”/“Timeline Four” talk that was placed into earlier parts (in Book 3), which was extended here. I think it works better than random “clouded time loop” technobabble. The second reason is something Frank literally said in Part 91a, to Laurie: “I admit, to this point, I was looking at this whole situation as being a broken timeline for us to fix. But Luci’s made it feel… real. With real people.”

The original 2009 writing was “broken timeline”. This time, I reasoned that Julie should be more than a simple cameo, her dispute with Luci should be more real – and be resolved. And then Chartreuse elbowed me, saying “I must exist here too”, and having her there led to Lee, and even a reference to Glinephanis being in Australia. In a sense, I fell down the rabbit hole. (It’s like I ended up in the Season Four “Agents of SHIELD” Framework, wanting to save the world, even though it wasn’t real.)

One thing that happened in all the newness was Glen getting edited OUT. Carrie had originally been talking to him before her party (not Chartreuse), but it was very unclear as to whether this was the Glen she’d left town with, or a young Glen, from before she sent him back in the first place. And how did that then fit in with the Glen from Miami? So I edited him out of the future completely. When that felt like a plot hole, I tossed him “down under” with Future Tim.

Meanwhile, the addition of Chartreuse to the future let me fix a dangling thread that had always bothered me – that neighbour “Linford” who had tormented Luci, and gotten away. Reincorporating him hadn’t fit with the present timeline. Now? Future timeline. I could have Laurie save Chartreuse from the guy, finally giving that jerk some divine justice, and Laurie a broader character arc. I wrote the scene, read it back over, and thought that Laurie beating up a 70 year old man was kind of pathetic. Subsequently altered to be his SON, who references the fact that Linford got put behind bars. Much better.

Speaking of character arcs, Frank’s come a long way since the Luci/Carrie arguments of old in Book 1 too, managing to be the one to broker a peace between Future Luci/Julie. That felt right. And Tim’s also gaining confidence – he will gain one last little hurrah in the final parts. All new. The Temporal redheads thing, by the way, WAS there in the original writing, though it wasn’t explained to the same extent. (And kudos to Mez for his thoughts on the genetics back in Part 85. Hopefully everything’s held together.) Incidentally, here’s a website noting not all redheads are in Ireland and Scotland.

A couple final things about the original writing. At one point, I’d entertained the thought of Glen being an actual alien, and the group ending up on a spaceship – changed to just having an “alien probe”, both in the original writing and here. Frank had also wondered if he was married to Luci (with him not being dead and all), following her idly referencing “The Time Traveler’s Wife” movie (from 2009, referenced in prior commentaries). And everything since Commentary 26 had been designed as the only two parter since that “Back to the Future” tribute — meaning a “Coming in PART II” clip! For your entertainment, it was:

Coming in Part II:
[in back of a limousine] “By all means,” Julie stated, “let’s have her die right now in her present attempt instead.”
[outside, in the dark] “I’m not about to ditch you,” Mindy said. “But before we reach the building, there is one other thing to discuss.”
[driving a car] “Here,” Carrie hissed, her golden eyes flashing, “Here is a real challenge at last…”

None of those quotes survived. (It ends where we left off with 92b. Granted, it won’t actually ever be made clear now whether Carrie in super-speed mode also includes driving a car or not.) Onwards!

Parts 88/89/90 were originally called “Fight the Future” which became the title of 89a; the previous parts were still revealing that future. The following titles (“Insight the Future”, “Reunite the Future” and “Rewrite the Future”) were riffs on that. Parts 91/92/93 were originally “Fight the Future, Part II”, so I just came up with new things. I’m rather proud of “Veni Vidi Veniti”.

Remember you can VOTE for T&T at “Top Web Fiction” on a weekly basis, and with us nearly being done, this may be the last chance for anyone to lay eyes on this thing. I hold no hope of anyone voting while reading the archive years later. ^_^

Coming This Tuesday: Carrie versus Carrie, but likely not how you think.

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