TTC

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.

TTC: Commentary 26

“Time & Tied” PARTS 84-85

1. Original Date Of Completion: AUGUST 20, 2009
2. What I Was Doing: Full Time Contract Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-Now a bigger speech by Laurie, also teaching Beth cheerleading
-Scene with Mr. Waterson was new (previously offscreen)
-Beth spoke with a random student, not Chartreuse
-Scene with Clarke and Theresa was new (going to Julie’s)
-Beth had approached Megan, not the other way around
-Megan’s motivations (women’s lib used to be Claude’s birthday)

“Time & Tied” PARTS 86-87
1. Original Date Of Completion: AUGUST 25, 2009
2. What I Was Doing: Full Time Contract Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-Frank’s mental flashback with Tim moved a bit earlier
-CSI:Miami reference had included talk of “upcoming spinoff show” (NY)
-Glen originally escaped before they arrived at the airport
-Tracking device on Glen was new (had followed sound of a scream)
-Carrie had dressed like a stewardess rather than her mother
-Question for Question format now tried to make exposition interesting
-Had cut away for truth of Carrie’s mother; audience learned later with Frank
-Now a longer scene with the Elder Carrie
-Frank had lamented leaving the temporal gun behind

“Time & Tied” PARTS 88-90, completed by AUGUST 27, 2009
Information to follow in next Commentary.

CHARGING TO THE FINISH

As I mentioned in the last Commentary, I saw the movie “The Time Traveler’s Wife” in August 2009, and it’s what helped motivate me to write the conclusion for our “Time & Tied” storyline. Recall that I saw the current plot as “Season Two”, and one of the things I’d wanted to do in later seasons was visit the characters in the future. That’s why I’d had Shady’s future currency mysteriously stolen (back in “Season One”). Now, given that I wasn’t sure if I’d ever pick the story up again… here we go, into the future! The setup was great, since certain core members (Luci, Julie and Clarke) weren’t in danger of doubling up.

More on that future next time. For now, a quick look back at the parts involving Beth. I’d made a habit of starting into the next serial entry (“episode”), whenever I’d finished the last one. That way, I’d have a sense of where to go next, in case it was months before I got back to the story. So Part 84 (half an “episode”) was basically completed by March 21, 2008. It was dusted off over a year later, and finished through Part 85 (“after commercial break”).

The note I’d left myself in 2008 was that I wanted to include Beth’s point of view, and somehow wrap up the Megan angle, which had gotten away from me prior to the talent show. So it made sense to have them talk. The content was different with that first effort, as I referenced above. I prefer the new rewrite (see spoilers below for why).

Continuing on, I’d never been to the Miami International Airport (MIA) as of 2009, but WAS there in December 2014 (hence the photo in part 86). They lost the bags for our family as we went to a connecting flight (all but one bag, actually). This despite my in-laws upgrading us to first class. Not impressed. Yet the first hand experience didn’t cause any real change to the content of those parts in edits. I suppose I did pull up maps for reference, to avoid blatant mistakes.

As far as a car being left at an airport for three days, I didn’t do any research at the time, but (once again) stumbled on something later. Namely this article a couple years back: “Edmonton International Airport parking lots, home to 100 plus ditched cars”. So there is precedent. Alternately, here’s a hilarious tale of a BMW, lost in a UK parking garage for six months.

Even if later experience didn’t change the framework, you might have noticed the “changes of note” list is getting longer. That’s because lots of new elements are being draped onto that older skeleton. In fact, there are only two and a half episodes remaining in the 2009 material, which would mean five episodes – except there are, in fact, EIGHT upcoming (meaning 16 updates). Before discussing the repercussions of that in spoilers (below), an aside to talk about temporal inspirations.

TIME TRAVEL TV

You may recall that Beth’s first appearance in this story was in the “Back to the Future”/“Quantum Leap” tribute episode, analyzed in Commentary 7. I mentioned then that the name “Beth” was chosen because it’s the name of Al’s first wife from QL (a show about ‘putting right what once went wrong’ in individual lives). I didn’t point out that it’s another riff on Carrie’s middle name (“Elizabeth”). I’m not sure if that was a fluke, or me being forward-thinking.

Needless to say, “Quantum Leap” (1989-1993) was a huge influence on me, growing up. (Luci’s remark from Part 84, “Is that ethical? That can’t be ethical.” is another homage. The response in QL was “No, it’s television.” See also Clarke’s tow truck, “Sam & Al’s Garage”.) But there was another show influencing me back then too. “The Girl From Tomorrow” (1991-1993), an Australian television series that was shown in Canada.

That show has a teenager from the year 3000 (Alana) becoming stranded in the 1990s. She’s taken in by a family (which includes another teenage girl, Jenny), and the two work to retrieve her “time capsule” from the villain. The second season has them trying to fix a time error in the year 2500, introducing Nik (a teenager from that year) and the “time gate”.

Teenagers and time machines. Was my “Time & Tied” story all but inevitable? (And hey, speaking of inevitability, I wrote a guest post at the Time2TimeTravel site in March called “Models of Time and Fate” you can check out.)

Another show worthy of mention: “Seven Days” (1998-2001). In that show, they can go back in time and change things, but the trip is always seven days. I don’t think I ever caught this show as regularly (being at University), but you’ll see it took place as “Time & Tied” was first coming together. A sign there was a market. And I did use it’s theme music to make this Anime Music Video. (The anime was an OVA, “Natsuiro no Sunadokei”, or “Sandglass of Summer Colours”, about a boy living his summer out of order. Based on a video game.)

And another show: “Being Erica” (2009-2011). A Jewish woman in her thirties undergoes therapy, which allows her to literally revisit (even change) past experiences, by walking through doorways. This Canadian show actually began in January of 2009, meaning it was an additional kick towards getting the T&T story done in that year. I actually wrote the initial TV Tropes page for this show, after seeing that it didn’t exist yet. Further, an episode of my math serial (“Being Parabola”) was influenced by seeing it.

I suppose “Doctor Who” should also get a mention. I started watching it in the late 1990s, in reruns, while at University. (Third and Fourth doctors, if memory serves.) I caught the return in 2005, and have been following it since. Curiously, despite it being a serial itself, I don’t think it’s been as big an influence on me. There are also individual episodes of other shows that tackle time travel – in fact I created my own “TIME LOOPS” TV Roundup Page, which I maintain to this day. Let me know if you have a new entry.

In 2017, during this republishing, I’ve been watching the new “Timeless” show (shady organization tries to preserve their control of history). In fact, there’s a LOT of time travel TV out there now. “Frequency” (based on the movie of the same name). “Time After Time” (also based on the movie of the same name). “Making History” (a comedy on Fox). Plus “12 Monkeys” is in season 3, while “Legends of Tomorrow” and “The Flash” are established superhero shows doing time travel. Seen any of those? (I only caught “Time After Time”, until it was cancelled by ABC without airing filmed episodes. Not impressed, ABC Network!) Are there any other time travel shows that you have enjoyed, or which have influenced you in some way? Let people know in the comments!

SPOILER SECTION

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

As I mentioned, we’re heading into this storyline’s future. So, with the majority of the remaining action taking place there, it meant the present had to be wrapped up (mostly) with the conclusion of Part 85. I don’t want to say too much yet (there are flashbacks and the coda to come), but if something sticks out as a “loose end”, now would be the time to warn me. It’s why I had the new scene of Julie inviting Clarke to help out (via Mindy), for their relationship.

Regarding the school… I realized at the start of March (2017) that I had never drawn Megan Falls before. Ever. So that image of her is completely new. Did you see something different in your mind’s eye? (For any of the characters?) Megan’s feminist point of view (in conversation with Beth) was also new, but made a lot of sense, in my opinion. It harkens back to Julie’s parental issues, and certainly felt like a better reason for her hesitation on hooking up with Claude than in the original writing (concern over a birthday gift). It’s also in line with her hate on Corry. In general, I’m satisfied with how her character, and the school plots in general, closed out. Are you?

In terms of who would go after Carrie, the only primary characters who hadn’t time travelled yet were Tim, Laurie and Lee. (Chartreuse only had the single round trip, knocking her out, but it counts.) Laurie was a given here, Tim needed a chance to shine, and Lee, well, he was always the “satellite” member. Too bad for him. I didn’t want to overload the group, so “understanding Temporal” was selected as being more important than “being immune to Temporal powers”. Thoughts?

As to what happened in Miami, Laurie’s insecurities were a lot worse in the original writing, particularly when her father turned up in the airport. (A touch I couldn’t resist. I like how Mez picked up on the genetics.) Laurie’s mannerisms got tightened up here; her week of being in charge of the cheerleaders was apparently good for her. The bit with Carrie’s mother being pregnant, that had been the plan for a while, though I can’t give a specific date for the idea (probably by Book 2, given how it ended). “Anne” at the Miami hostel was a VERY subtle reference to Buffy (Season 3).

The other thing that deserves some mention – it’s Future Carrie! I’d always envisioned Carrie vs. Carrie, and it seems the elder version wins Round One. She numbed herself, and would have managed to strand the time group in the past, if not for Mindy’s efforts. In fact, with the “April Fools” update (you read that entry, right?) by Michael Fitzgerald, he portrayed her very well: More experienced, with better control, and a darker personality. How do you fight that? Well, first we’ve got to get a clearer picture of the future itself. Stay tuned through April, and thank you for all the recent comments!

Parts 84/85 were originally “Powering Up” which became the title of 84a, since we don’t even see the powered up time car until that part. In fact, “Powering Up” was meant to be the entire theme of Season Two, the same way “Coming Together” was meant to be the theme of Season One. Parts 86/87 were originally “The Plain Truth”, which became the title of 87a, because that’s where we learned about Elaine’s pregnancy. It’s a deliberate riff on “The Plane Truth”, the title of Parts 3/4, when we first met Carrie’s mother – get it? Parts 88/89/90 were originally called “Fight the Future”, and we’ll get to that in due course.

Remember you can VOTE for T&T at “Top Web Fiction” on a weekly basis. I’ve added a “science fiction” tag there for more visibility. I’m also now publishing from the start on Royal Road Legends (slightly re-edited, currently nearing the end of Book 1), feel free to give me a ranking there if you’re able. Phew, this was a longer Commentary than usual, thanks for reading!

Coming TOMORROW: It sinks in where the time travellers truly are.

TTC: Commentary 25

“Time & Tied” PARTS 80-81

4_chartreuselee

Old sketch of Chartreuse & Lee

1. Original Date Of Completion: OCTOBER 30, 2006
2. What I Was Doing: Part-Time Contract Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-Almost everything with Chartreuse was new
-Working out where Carrie was going, bumped back into this part

“Time & Tied” PARTS 82-83
1. Original Date Of Completion: MARCH 18, 2008
2. What I Was Doing: Full Time Contract Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-More Chartreuse; her timeline work was new
-Some of Mindy’s backstory with Linquist was tweaked
-Added Lee preventing further physical acts by Glen
-Inserted explanation of time travel by Temporals
-The language, now “Temporal”, used to be called “Sectoral”
-Added Julie/Clarke scene, to handle their relationship

EIGHT YEARS LATER

Back in Commentary 1, I remarked on how the earliest text file I had was from December 1999 – and that’s not when the story idea started, only the electronic writing. At this point in the narrative, we’re in March of 2008. Meaning at least eight years after starting to write. Did I have this whole plot in mind way back at the start? Oh, heck no. I tracked plot points, leaving myself useful threads as I went. That’s my style; probably part of the reason I’m good at serial writing.

TimelineUsed” was the last such text file I left behind, dated Dec 10, 2006. It got a lot more in depth than previous versions, by flagging more obscure names like Tracy Irving (Corry’s contact in England who knew Julie), by inserting Carrie’s departure from the present (then “Late May 2002”) and by pinning down Mindy’s identity (more on that in spoilers below, in case you didn’t catch that key part).

Despite the detail, eight years later, I was still trying to decide where to take things. And the writing was slowing down. Initially, I’d envisioned a five season (10 book) epic. By 2008, I wasn’t even sure if I’d get season two finished. Except I couldn’t set it aside completely, because I wanted people to read it, and I asked myself, who would read an unfinished story? That’s where I was at, mentally.

Then, in August of 2009, I saw “The Time Traveler’s Wife” when it first came out in theatres. (Which is rare, normally I give movies a few weeks.) That energized me enough to work through the remaining five episodes from this point forwards (which, after edits, will become 13 parts, not the usual 10). Ergo, before we continue into those final two arcs, let’s look at stats, and wrap up the Mindylenopia connection.

RANDOM STATISTICS

Bad news first. After an unexpected upswing in December 2016 (largely thanks to Mez and Tartra reading the archive), we’re sliding back down. January saw 464 page views, and we’re on track to inch up to 360 page views by the end of February. Which, admittedly, isn’t as low as it got in November of 2016 (220 views). But I still have multiple days with only two views. Hey, it’s not zero?

6_timtheresa

Old sketch of Theresa & Tim

Individually, only 7 people have seen Part 80 (“Vanishing Act”), posted back at the end of January. As Lightdefender has reminded me, by following the RSS feed, no page view would register… but I think it’s clear this story is gaining zero traction. The last time anyone looked at the start of Book 2 (“Missing Piece”) was back on Feb 4th, and a view for the start of Book 3 (“Talking to Herself”) requires tracking back even further.

The frustrating thing is that I know there’s interest in time travel out there. The TV show “Timeless” wrapped up it’s first season last Monday, and I was live tweeting along with tons of other people. There’s a new comedy time travel show, “Making History”, coming out in March. The movie “Arrival”, which has time travel as a theme, was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Why can’t I tap into this?! I’ve given two interviews in two months (a local author’s site, and a serial page on Facebook) and it hasn’t seemed to help at all. Is my story that bad?

Now the good news. In the past week, Paul Wandason has approached me about writing a guest post on his time travel blog. (“Time2TimeTravel”, find it there.) It could help, and has added a “like” to my Facebook page, bringing us to 15. I also have eleven blog followers, up two from 2016 – hello to sweetmotivational and cuteanimallove. John Golden commented this month. And I am still getting mentions out there: k-fish of Redwood Crossing offered an unsolicited plug back in December (that I only recently saw, oops) and Scott Delahunt posts me regularly to Facebook.

I have also, as of Feb 23rd, started posting Time & Tied on the site Royal Road Legends. (The turnaround for approval was surprisingly quick, a little over 24 hours.) I’ve reformatted Book 1 to split all parts in two, the way I’m posting now. I fixed my possessives (I hope), cut back on my overuse of exclamation points, and made a few other minor changes. The plan is to post there daily for the next half a year. (Yes, this tale is over 183 half-parts.) We’ll see how that goes. If you have any pull over there, maybe give a ranking? If not, it’s cool, thank you for simply sticking with me.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting that some of the early parts, previously published on this very site, have been edited as of the week of February 5th, 2017. (The Facebook banner was also updated then.) Notably Chapter 1, streamlined to have some better grammar, and Chapter 11, to include a brief appearance by Theresa. Honestly, I’d thought she was already there, alongside the first cafe reference. Somehow, I’d made a mental edit in my head. It doesn’t really make a difference, although Theresa has become a relevant character in the midst of Book 4. Speaking of…

SPOILER SECTION

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

At what point did the Mindylenopia/Theresa plot point come together? From the point of her banishment, I had it in mind that Mindy went back less than 20 years, and that she would be mixed up with Linquist, driving his alien vendetta (first seen in the abduction of Luci). The subsequent “Timeline” file, from before the start of Book 4, further postulated that Theresa was Mindy’s mother, while making it clear that Mindy was behind Julie’s reconstruction efforts. The “TimelineUsed” file (mentioned above) finally melded Theresa and Mindy – they were the same person.

As to foreshadowing? The cafe fire to start Book 3 was a happy accident (I forget why I’d decided not to have Theresa there), the couple lines of dialogue to Clarke post-Banishment were done in recent edits, and there’s one other much older Theresa item you may have forgotten about, which will help steer the narrative later. This is also why I know these random sketches I’ve been including in recent Commentary were done after 2005, given the presence of Theresa (above, with Tim).

Regarding the overall time travel plot elements, lots of the rest was originally there, but got shifted around. Carrie’s blowout with Glen was originally in Part 80 (day of the talent show). It was moved back to Part 78, which made space for the new Chartreuse romance (the classroom scene). Carrie’s letter to her father appears earlier now; it wasn’t revealed in the original until Luci read it aloud during the group discussion. Even then, they didn’t realize Carrie’s destination (her mom) until Laurie helped Frank connect the dots in the second discussion (the one after Glen and Mindy bickered).

The group also didn’t discuss Frank’s death until that second meeting. They couldn’t do it any earlier, because in that first draft, only Glen knew the truth. By picking up the dropped ball of the Carrie-Chartreuse romance in edits, I’d realized Chartreuse could be the vehicle to tell the group about Carrie’s Timelines, which made a lot more sense than Glen doing it. The tradeoff for Chartreuse’s torment was that she also got a surprise make out scene with Carrie.

I’m serious there – their kissing scene was new, yet felt necessary, and I thought that was everything. So I was just as surprised as Glen when Chartreuse blurted out Carrie’s love admission, then had her cry-fest extra-love confession with Laurie. Um, you go girl?

Back on the topic of changes, another shift was the talk of Future Carrie. Originally placed during Mindy’s technical talk, now bumped back to the day before (in that second talk, after the Glen/Mindy bickering). And all of the temporal theory talk (about burning dinner) was new. To be clear, the “one timeline” temporal thread in that talk was always the intention for this universe, but there was never any actual discussion of it in-story… and Frank’s question of Shady/Glen/Mindy affecting the timeline in different ways WAS valid. Wasn’t it? So we finally got an in-story explanation of time travel in Part 83. I hope it made sense.

Was anything else baked into original plans? Yup. The Venitis being in Miami, which is where Elaine disappeared. Planned since Book 2 or before. Hence why I twisted Corry’s ankle earlier – he’d taken Laurie’s place last time (saving Julie), but I wanted his sister on this trip. And Beth’s return from the 1950s was always planned in some way too. I mean, I gave her a hairband with a tracking device, for goodness sakes! Though I hadn’t known then that this was where I would use her.

So, at this point we HAVE been in Timeline Four since Book 1, Chapter 1 (as Chartreuse deduced). Even though the cause for it was in Book 3 (Mindylenopia). And if Carrie seemed a bit abrasive in Book 1, she has this whole dual protagonist/antagonist thing going for her. Antagonist of Timeline Three, Protagonist of Timeline Four. And yes, Future Carrie of Timeline Three IS a legit threat, as I had always intended for her to face off against herself somehow. Oh yes, we’re going there.

But first, we’ll see more Beth, who I had always intended to make more religious, due to Carrie’s “angels” assertion. Beth now has to deal with school – and someone else, who became religious while I did my edits. Know who I’m talking about? We are now halfway through Book 4, and heading back into a bit more character work. I hope you continue to enjoy.

Parts 80/81 were originally “Vanishing Act”, so that was Part 80a. Parts 82/83 were originally “History Lesson”, but uh-oh, I used that for the second part of “Flashback” way back at Part 28. So I went with “Remaking History” as Part 82a instead. (Weird that both parts use ‘8’ and ‘2’.) Remember you can VOTE for T&T at “Top Web Fiction” on a weekly basis to help spread the word. It helps.

Coming This Tuesday: Laurie’s out, Beth’s in.

TTC: Commentary 24

“Time & Tied” PARTS 76-77

3_julieclarke

Old sketch of Clarke & Julie

1. Original Date Of Completion: OCTOBER 1, 2005
2. What I Was Doing: Extended Occasional Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-Luci/Tim scene near start was revamped
-Some added explanations in Julie/Tim scene
-“Mr Francis” became “Mr Piquaud”

“Time & Tied” PARTS 78-79
1. Original Date Of Completion: SEPTEMBER 4, 2006
2. What I Was Doing: Part-Time Contract Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-EVERYTHING. Well, Corry’s blackmail plan survived.
-Some later information also retroactively inserted here.

 

BACKGROUND FILES

The timeline and character tracking files started to become really important around this point. Why? Well, the prior commentary showcased episodes completed in 2004. As you see above, the next entry was done in 2005. The next, 2006. Fun fact, teaching doesn’t leave you with a lot of time to write, hence the “September” completion dates. And while I have a pretty good memory, details could easily slip through the cracks (like the Chartreuse-Carrie romance angle, restored in edits and the new Part 75).

Timeline”, a file from Oct 23, 2004, was the file where I stored key events that had occurred – or would occur – in the story. This file was an update from the “TimelineA” file (referenced in Commentary 21). That new file adds in when Luci moved to town, elements of Mindylenopia in the present, and a bunch of future stuff is clarified – the file no longer ends with Glen going back in “Mid 2013”, that event is now “Mid 2027” (despite main events still occurring in 2001). There’s more, like 2025 being the construction of the first time machines, but that starts to tread on spoiler territory; we’ll revisit this at the next file update.

TimeCha5”, my character file (also referenced in Commentary 21) is a version from Aug 25, 2006. Bizarrely enough, the only update I can see from TimeCha4 (in 2003) involves the insertion of Luci’s middle name (Isabella) – it doesn’t even mention Megan. That’s the last update I would make to this set of files until 2014, effectively present-day. Sidebar though, last time I mentioned my inability to give characters last names… Megan’s name was originally “Megan Fallows”. (Megan Follows, anyone?) That was shortened to “Falls” in edits for the blog.

cry153_b

Jan 22, 2005

A few other files of note: An HTML file from October 30, 2006, linking to all the episodes thus far. It also included the titles for the next three episodes, implying I knew where I was going, mostly. Coupled with that was the image of a crystal swan I got off the internet (dated Jan 22, 2005). These were linked to off my personal Sympatico website at the time, so maybe old versions of “Time Trippers” still exist in web archives (the site was http://www3.sympatico.ca/gbtaylor1/tt.htm). And then there’s the last of my Comments Files, which are dated Sep 24, 2006 and Oct 10, 2006 respectively.

Scott Delahunt and I have a history that dates back to before this story. Back in the late 1990s, we would comment back and forth on our fan fictions and other works – eventually including “TT”. Starting in 2000, I kept many of those emails, for his thoughts on Episodes 2-5, 9-13, 15, 16, and 18. (Recall each “episode” is two parts, so those cover through to the middle of Book 2.) I obviously wasn’t careful about archiving, hence, gaps. In that same directory are these two 2006 files, which are not emails, but IRC (Internet Relay Chat) logs, about Episode 37 (Parts 78-79) and Pre-38 thoughts.

CHANGING EPISODE 37

But before we get into IRC, some notes on changes. Spoilers, but only for the above parts, if you’re not caught up. Episode 36 (Parts 76-77) didn’t need much adjustment. Having added the prior Luci/Frank scene in the library, the Luci/Tim scene was less Luci dwelling on her breakup and more wondering about where to go next. Julie also went into a bit more detail about Glen’s mental manipulations – the china cabinet line was new. Yet the arc ended the same way.

5_corrylaurie

Old sketch of Corry & Laurie

I started Part 78 thinking it would be an insert, doing a bit more with the Chartreuse-Carrie dynamic. Then I realized to properly address that, Carrie needed a scene with Glen too. So chunks of their talk from Episode 38 (coming up next) were transplanted, with the specific timeline references being new. The Chartreuse/Megan talent show vision issue, merely informed in the old 37, was then shown “on screen” instead. After which Chartreuse completely took over.

Episode 37 USED to be a Corry-Megan episode. In brief, Corry got Kim to knock Megan out, then they brought her out to the woods. They reset her watch (adding a fake time travel element, so she thinks it’s after the talent show), and then Corry leads Megan on a false chase after Laurie, culminating in the blackmail plot, at the train station. Two problems. First, the fake temporal element creates unnecessary complications (Megan doesn’t buy it), and second, Corry is portrayed as being the “good guy” – in a story where he scares the wits out of a girl, for blackmail purposes. Uhm, yeah, hard sell there.

So, Chartreuse became our new “good guy”, as she endeavoured to understand Megan, rather than deceive her. I went along with it, because: (1) It allowed me to explore Corry’s initial reasons for controlling the school. The whole story with Laurie and Josh smoking was new. (2) It forced ME to understand Megan. Every single religious element was new, and fortunately these rewrites were in time for me to retroactively insert Megan’s cross necklace into Book 3, at her first appearance.

Was ANYTHING kept? Well, Kim still made an appearance. Linquist’s cabin in the woods is in both versions. Ditto Frank’s sonic grenade, Corry dressing up like his sister, and his twisted ankle. Also Chartreuse doing the recording… except in this version, she turns it off, then chases Corry away. As a result, Megan is mollified instead of justifiably LIVID. Oh, Frank also appeared in both, though this time it was for the new scene with Julie, which helps to explain why they’re back on speaking terms in the next entry. Originally, he showed up mainly to collect his grenade, having helped Corry as a favour to Kim.

With all of that in mind, some thoughts from that IRC file on Ep 37: At the time, I’d mused on it being a “filler/setup ep, but it felt needed”. Scott agreed that Megan was a loose end. At that time, I wasn’t certain about revisiting Megan afterwards, barring Season 3 (FYI, she will return). And Scott also correctly pegged why I’d put Corry out of action with his ankle – do you see why? Talk later shifted to Scott’s story of the time, and whether Corry and Rita would get along, so instead of getting into that, let’s now look at how everything threads together.

SPOILER SECTION

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

The school plot is mostly wrapped up now. The school politics (between Carrie, Julie and Corry) were largely what carried us through Book 1, back when time travel was experimental. It led to Julie’s school story interweaving with the time travel in Book 2, ultimately taking her out of the picture. But I couldn’t leave Corry in charge for senior year – he would get too much of a swelled head.

In Book 3, as the time travel came more to the forefront, Megan was devised as a rival to both of them. Now, in Book 4, Megan is in charge – but letting the student body do their own thing (more or less). We even got a look at Corry’s school domination origins, to balance Julie’s earlier story. So while there is a bit more Megan to come, hopefully you feel like the overall high school aspect of the story has reached a satisfactory conclusion. Let me know if aspects remain unsatisfying.

Elsewhere, the time travel plot is close to firing on all cylinders. Are we in “timeline five”? What does that even mean? A lot of the earlier parts were instrumental in setting up where we’re headed, though I suspect (hope?) it wasn’t too obvious at the time. And as much as I might want to mention specifics here, it’s better (and more entertaining?) for you to see those things as they come up. It will be gradual.

Turning from plot to characters, originally, Megan was something of a cipher. She merely served her purpose by turning the tables on Corry (and Julie) for once. As I mentioned above, I didn’t delve deeper until these edits, when Chartreuse confronted her. As a result, Megan has now gained more of a personality, and there’s method to her madness. Religion was not an angle I’d expected.

I suppose you could say I’m Christian, in that I had a religious grandmother who gave me a Bible, I once did Sunday school, and I went to church… on special occasions. Yet my parents themselves didn’t insist on anything religious, so for over twenty years now, “Christianity” has idled in my subconscious. As such, lot of web searches were necessary for Part 79, to pull Megan into focus. Is she plausible?

To be clear, adding religion didn’t feel totally out of place, given how the concept of free will is tied to time travel. Consider: Megan baits people, to see what they’ll do. Well, when Carrie told herself to “talk to Chartreuse” to start Book 3 – was there really a choice there? Or was it predestined? However, religion IS edging out of my comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to call me out on inaccuracies, or to offer up some new religious insights.

As far as other characters go, we’ve been seeing more of Tim. Like Megan, aspects of him are also a cipher to me. I know he needs to take over-the-counter medication, and has an occasional stuttering problem, but I’ve never been sure whether those elements connected to something physical or mental. Only that it meant he kept mostly to himself. There’s no revelation coming there; let me know if you have thoughts.

Regardless, Tim is now part of the group, thanks to his connection with Clarke and Julie – Chartreuse’s old “two degrees of separation” (2DEGS) group has again been fully integrated. And a linguist will be helpful – did anyone see the movie “Arrival”, late last year? It’s not really like that, but there’s your precedent for language being used in time travel fiction. As Mez pointed out in a comment for “Bad Signs”, the language in Linquist’s logbook will now be referenced in dialogue using % markers.

Lee has also come more to the forefront, in helping to create the stalemate between Julie and Corry. He’s always been my satellite member of the group. They help him out, he helps them out, but he stays on the fringes… I’m hoping he comes across as the most “average” out of any of them. The “grounding rod”, if you will, a normal guy dealing with otherwise extraordinary situations. Things happen around him, more than they happen to him. Yes/No? What do you think?

I don’t believe there’s much to say about the other characters at this point. Laurie got some extra backstory in Corry’s story… Julie is coming back into the fold… Carrie is dealing with how she is destined to leave town. It will all play out shortly. In fact, after a bit more character work between Chartreuse and Carrie, plot effectively takes over. Also, temporal explanations. Stick around, won’t you?

Parts 76/77 were originally “Double Blind” which became the title of 77a, since 76 set up the issue of who to trust. Parts 78/79 were originally “Truth and Consequences”, which was the title of 79a, for very similar reasoning. Remember, you can VOTE for T&T at “Top Web Fiction” on a weekly basis.

Coming This Tuesday: Carrie leaves. (The story doesn’t need a protagonist any more, right?)

TTC: Commentary 23

“Time & Tied” PARTS 71-72

1_carrieglen

Old sketch of Carrie & Glen

1. Original Date Of Completion: NOVEMBER 5, 2004
2. What I Was Doing: Extended Occasional Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-Added Chartreuse talking to Carrie on Phil’s behalf
-More done with the Frank/Luci scene

“Time & Tied” PARTS 73-74
1. Original Date Of Completion: SEPTEMBER 11, 2004
2. What I Was Doing: Extended Occasional Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-Cassette tape changed to a USB
-Altered ending for more Chartreuse, leading to 75

“Time & Tied” PART 75
1. Original Date Of Completion: AUGUST 13, 2016
2. What I Was Doing: Full Time Contract Teacher in Ottawa
3. Changes of note:
-*ALL NEW*

HAPPY NEW YEAR

If you were planning on time travelling away, and returning to the present, now you can’t – there’s no 2017 coins yet. Back in Commentary 15, I did a roundup of 2015 coins. Over 12 months, I had obtained 42, the majority being quarters and toonies. The roundup for 2016 is less, at 37.* I did manage one of each type, pictured below (Canada has no pennies any more) with way more dimes this year. First coins were in July. Last coin was a nickel, on Dec 27. Obviously part of the difference in count might be in number of purchases, though I think I got more sets in 2015 (e.g. 75 cents in change, all three quarters of the current year). Could also be less coins around this year though.

*: An earlier version of this post gave the number as 32. Five more coins were found on a corner of my desk early in 2017 (four quarters and a dime) and the photo was updated.

2016coins

2016 Coins

Serial Highlights of 2016: A guest post at “Legion of Nothing” in June, taking place right near the start of my T&T Book 3: “Power Play”. A guest post at “The Archive of Unusual Events” last week, playing with time travel in his universe: “13th Floor Concerns”. Two WFG reviews for T&T, by Inky Llama (Maddirose) in March, out of the blue, and ChrysKelly in August, after making the most comments of anyone (and that just across the first 27 parts). CrysKelly also gave me a shoutout within “Sanctioned” with MJ’s “Cats, School & Planned Parenting”, and k-fish mentioned this serial in the RRL forums.

Which brings us to December 2016, and what I would call a statistical anomaly. Since July peaked in views, at 942 with 230 visitors (due to the LoN guest post), and every subsequent month declined in both categories. Yet December had over 870 views with 126 visitors, with both Tartra (from WFG) and Mez (from TWF) starting to read and comment. Lightdefender and Scott Delahunt also chimed in with comments that month. I know it helps that more posts exist now TO read, but whoa. Thanks for all that.

For prior year comparisons, 2015 had 776 visitors; 2016 nearly doubled that to 1,450. 2015 had 2,208 views across 101 posts. 2016 had 5,495 views across 190 posts. Top referrers in 2015: 1) Twitter. 2) WebFictionGuide. 3) Facebook. 4) TheChaosBeast (Unruly) & InMyDaydreams (LoN) tied at 51. Top referrers in 2016: 1) Twitter. 2) InMyDaydreams. 3) Facebook. 4) WebFictionGuide. 5) TopWebFiction. (ChaosBeast still holding fast next at 52.) That’s not counting links in from my forum posts.

The most popular post for 2015 was actually the first entry in “Epsilon Project” (181) not the first for “Time & Tied” (149); now the first “Time & Tied” entry is on top (596) followed by the indexes and About Me page before anything else. Incidentally, as of today, my site’s been protected from over 1,000 spam comments. Anyway, that’s far too much on stats. WordPress does a yearly round-up anyway. (Compare yourself to 2015 if you like, links to come.) On to Book 4.

ABOUT THE WRITING

As I indicated in the prior Commentary, the initial order of writing was flipped here for Parts 71-72 and 73-74. It made more sense to start Book 4 with Clarke’s sister, effectively a time travel themed episode, versus the violin story, which was school centred. The other thing I decided to do starting in Book 4 was give each partial part it’s own title.

My reasoning for all the unique titles was that I wasn’t sure about inserting new episodes. My initial Book 4 writing back in the 2000s was jagged, and spanned years… so I thought I might need to include “half parts” between old episodes, to deal with narrative gaps. As it turned out, that never really happened, but I decided to keep the separate titles anyway. This is also why I shifted to two-parters for the second part of Book 3, as I knew I’d be doing it when we got to this point.

2_frankluci

Old sketch of Frank & Luci

Part 75 was the first completely new part – and to some extent, became the ONLY new part in the whole Book. Other “new” parts (upcoming) are better described as additions within existing parts, or even complete rewrites of the old material. Whereas dealing with the Chartreuse-Carrie romance came in outside the old framework. I felt there was a LOT to cover, not the least of which was how Carrie felt about everything. All of which I opted to write from Chartreuse’s perspective.

I didn’t want two entries (75a/75b) of only Chartreuse though, so there was the Frank-Luci scene to get some better closure on their relationship (while foreshadowing something that originally had no foreshadowing) as well as the Clarke-Tim scene which let me call back to Julie’s November birthday (while showing what Julie had decided after seeing Mary, instead of merely telling later on).

This worked out fine from an in-story perspective too. After writing the part with Mary Clarke (late 2004) I actually didn’t resume the writing for almost a year (late 2005), and hence I dropped in a short time skip. Part 75 now fills that void of a week or two, while trying to recover the dropped ball of Chartreuse’s feelings. Something that we will see more of later too.

Unrelated to the narrative, we have new pictures in this post for Book 4 Commentary! They’re not commissions, but old sketches I drew – of uncertain origin. Because I don’t remember when I drew them; I stumbled on them some weeks back in an old binder. They must have been after 2005, for reasons I will explain in a later Commentary, yet obviously it’s before the pictures I drew when I started this site, to accompany Book 1. Are they worse than those images? Better? I don’t know?

One last thing. I’m very bad at creating last names. Frank’s last name (Dijora) I created by mashing my hands on the keyboard and rearranging vowels. Tim’s last name (Whitby) is a region just outside Toronto. Glen Oaks was literally the name of some memorial gardens I used to drive past. And Carrie? Carrie Waterson? (Water’s-on?) Her last name was a riff on Carrie Fisher. (Fish/Water.) With the actress’s passing last week, this feels like a time to mention that.

SPOILER SECTION

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

The main dangling plot from the prior book was Julie, and why she was pulling away. That’s resolved fairly quickly – she’s rebuilding the time machine, in secret, supposedly due to a message from the future. Of course, she might not have told Mary if she’d known about Carrie’s deal with Clarke, involving Glen, but that’s what happens when people don’t talk to each other.

Also trailing in from Book 3 was the Frank-Luci situation. They do split up. I’m curious as to how you feel about that; I can say there’s a couple of reasons why I did it. Granted, I’m hesitant to mention the one that connects to time travel (you’ll see it narratively later), but I also wasn’t sure where else to take that pairing – and the large gaps in my writing at the time didn’t help for continuity. Plus, with Julie and Clarke as my on/off couple, I didn’t want to make Frank-Luci equally wishy-washy.

Relationship-wise, Chartreuse’s feelings for Carrie also trail in from Book 3. We saw that Carrie, while conflicted about it, brings Chartreuse back into her confidence. That’s actually new from the edits. I realized with the new Timelines 1-4, covered in Book 3, that I needed a sounding board for Carrie who was not Glen. Particularly with Mary not staying in the picture. Chartreuse was the natural choice. Carrie has now told two people about Frank’s death.

Plot-wise, outside of time travel, we see a bit of Corry and Megan and the school situation. It’s not going to be a major component like it was in the first couple books, but it is still there, as a thread that needs to be addressed. Plot-wise, more temporally relevant, I dropped that hint about Mindylenopia. She is coming back, and she won’t be the only incidental character who returns from prior Books. (After all, we saw Azure and Mary too.)

Laurie, Tim, Glen and Lee start Book 4 primarily in the background. Even Carrie is kind of in the background, curiously enough. They will get their chance later. I hope you stick around for it. Remember you can VOTE for T&T at “Top Web Fiction” on a weekly basis. There were 54 votes in 2016; we waffle between 3 and 4 votes weekly, depending on whether I remember to vote for myself.

A final bonus, here’s what was in the original 2004 “outline” file before I started writing what became the start of Book 4. The “BREAK” denotes the commercial break, where parts split:
-TEASER: Clarke tells Mary about the time machine.
-Frank explains to Clarke how there is no time machine to show as proof any more.
-Clarke speaks with Laurie about convincing Julie to talk to Mary.
-Luci speaks with Mary about her surfacing memories of Linford and childhood abuse.
-Corry speaks with Julie about talking to Mary.
-After BREAK: Carrie speaks with Mary about the death of Frank.
-Julie speaks with Mary about how she’s putting the time machine back together.
-Glen uses his mind powers to alter Mary’s perception of events, but not before getting her to tell him everything the others spoke to her about.

Parts 71/72 were originally “Shrink Rap”, which became the title of 71a. Parts 73/74 were originally “Four Part Harmony”, the title of 73a. Part 75 was brand new.

Coming This Tuesday: Tim ends up with a larger role.

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.