1. saturnnights
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    saturnnights New Member

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    How to have character in two places at once?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by saturnnights, Jun 11, 2012.

    I've been wrestling with this concept for a little while now and realized that I ought to join a forum to ask this and other questions that I am struggling with.

    Does anyone have a good literary example of a situation where a character is in two places at once? For example, a person has time-traveled and while they are at location X, they can observe themselves at location Y. They are not aware at location Y, that location X even exists.

    They are having a conversation at Y, while discussing that conversation with others at X.

    How to handle the dialog without making the reader go nuts, is making me go nuts.

    Many thanks,
    Mark
     
  2. Dubya
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    Dubya Member

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    Can't think of an example, but could your character at location X be in the first person, and describing the action at location Y? (I watched myself enter the room/ listened as my other self discussed the situation/ etc) Just a thought.
     
  3. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    About 80 years ago, scientists discovered that it is possible to be in two locations at the same timeā€”at least for an atom or a subatomic particle, such as an electron. For such tiny objects, the world is governed by a madhouse set of physical laws known as quantum mechanics. At that size range, every bit of matter and energy exists in a state of blurry flux, allowing it to occupy not just two locations but an infinite number of them simultaneously. The world we see follows a totally different set of rules, of course.

    Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 3 was in two places at once. She left her eye back at Andy's house while she was at a daycare a mile away. She was able to access her other eye by covering the eye that was attached to her potato head. Likewise, in a story I'm writing, I have a character that is possessing random people's bodies in a quest to return to his own body, while at the same time, I have scene's of his actual body acting out the behaviors he's experiencing in the other bodies. So it's not quite the same but you get the idea. If well written, you can do anything and the reader will accept it as truth.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's the Season 3 Smallville episode Crisis, in which Clark is working a crisis line and geta a panicked call from Lana, nad hears her get shot by her pursuer. But Lana is safe at home, and the weather is clear, unlike the rain Clark heard in the background. The call came through a time rip from a day in the future.

    It isn't exactly what you are looking for. Most writers avoid the paradox of having a person converse (two ways) with a future self due to the potential for a Grandfather Paradox, but you may find examples in Twilight zone or Outer Limits episodes.

    I think Ray Bradbury may have written a story of that type as well, but I can't put a mental finger on it at present.
     
  5. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    In one of the harry potter books,( i know it's not the first or second) Harry and his friends time travel and do exactly what you're describing.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Right! Prisoner of Azkaban. Forgot about that one.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If they're observing themselves, aren't they at the same place? Or do you mean observing themselves by, say, TV or crystal ball?

    For what it's worth, the Doctor Who episode _Father's Day_ has The Doctor in the same place twice, and Rose Tyler in the same place three times. (Though one was as a baby.) And the second _Back to the Future_ movie had the lead character in the same place twice.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Check out the Japanese cartoon Doraemon - what you said happens all the time lol, since the characters sometimes jump on a time machine and goes back to the past to change the future, and sometimes they run into "past" copies of themselves (or future copies). Sometimes they have quite decent conversations, because of course the character knows about the time machine at both ends of the time scale.

    There was one - this character, he's 8 years old with a crush on this female character, and it's said that he'll eventually marry her. So he hops on the time machine to the future to see how beautiful this girl would be and his future children and such, imagining a beautiful family scene. He goes there, and there he is, the future adult self being drunk and his wife stomping off somewhere. Child MC goes to Adult MC and tells him off for not appreciating her. Adult MC is like "Hey, you're my child-self!" and then Adult MC proceeds to tell Child MC off for not studying hard at school which means he now feels like he never achieved anything in life :D

    Another example from the same cartoon. MC and MC Doraemon hears a strange cry in the middle of the night. They investigate, and come across 2 stone statues in a terrified posture, smack bang in the middle of their corridor in the house. And these statues look identical to themselves. MC and MC Doraemon throws them out after being terrified, leaving the statues moaning outside in the rain. Later as the story progresses, you find out that the stone statues were actually the MC and MC Doreamon's future selves, and whilst running away from some demons, they decided to go back to the past to warn themselves of what would happen. The demons follows them through the time tunnel and transforms them into stone. Hence why the MCs at the present time saw the stone statues, which actually only happened later. (this was a feature length movie/manga)
     
  9. tiggertaebo
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    tiggertaebo Member

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    The Time Traveller's Wife has one of the main characters jumping through time and at various points he is in two places at once as there are two versions of him present in any one time. He also interacts with people in an out of order fashion (where events have occurred for him but not the person he is talking to and vice versa)
     
  10. saturnnights
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    saturnnights New Member

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    Thanks for all of the good ideas and resources! Looks like I'll be doing some reading over the next couple of weeks :)

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
  11. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    The TV show Heroes has several examples with the character Hiro Nakamura, who has time travel and teleportation. In one particularly funny example, he's trying to trap a precognitive guy. The first Hiro walks into the guy's house, and finds a picture of himself being hit over the head by a shovel. He turns, and the precognitive guy is behind him and hits him with a shovel. Then he decides to time travel and sneak up on the precognitive guy sneaking up on his earlier self. He finds another picture of himself being hit over the head with a shovel, located behind his hiding spot. Then the precognitive guy hits later Hiro on the head with the shovel, and then walks past him to hit his earlier self with the shovel as well.
     
  12. saturnnights
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    saturnnights New Member

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    Thanks again for all of your suggestions. I've taken a stab at this, and I think I did okay, for my first time :)
    I've read through the rules of the forum and I'm not sure that I am allowed to post a link to the particular blog story where I've done the "two places at once" technique? I've been a member here for exactly two weeks (bare minimum) but I don't know the proper way to direct those of you who'd be interesting in reading it to where I've posted it?

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you read the site rules, you will find that you may not post an offsite link for critique.
     
  14. saturnnights
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    saturnnights New Member

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    Fair enough - I'll need to read them again. I wasn't sure, since it had been two weeks since reading them.
     
  15. xhawkeyex
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    xhawkeyex Member

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    I've been there with the Time Travel Paradox idea and something that worked for me was to give the future version an alter ego (to conceal the real identity from the original version of the character)
     
  16. The Crazy Kakoos
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    The Crazy Kakoos Member

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    There are a couple ways you can do it with time travel I suppose.

    1. Character from the future time travels back to help himself in the past, or change something in the past. Ex: Present self is doing something while future self is doing something somewhere else. Whether or not present self realizes what's happening would be up to you and your story. This is similar to Superman The Movie where he goes back to help lois while his past self is saving lives elsewhere.

    2. They could be seperated in time. Maybe you just keep switching perspectives between past and present to get the full picture at the end. Maybe the present has amnesia or something, and the scenes from the past may seem like a totally different person or something.

    3. Maybe speperated by universes. Ex: Star Trek's mirror universe.

    4. Clone or a replication. I was watching Through the Wormhole one night and they were talking about transporters from Star Trek and the question they posed was what was to keep the transporter from making more than one of the person it was teleporting?
     
  17. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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