1. The_Raven
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    The_Raven Member

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    Need help on how to implement complicated time stuff into the plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by The_Raven, Sep 18, 2015.

    Ok, so, I have this entire book series planned out, and I've written a rough outline for it. There is an issue in a certain area of the plot, however. It's a major event that affects a lot of things in the story.

    To explain my problem, I will have to explain a little bit of the event. Basically, there's this guy, his name is Cole. Cole is going into a machine in an attempt to recreate a history that doesn't exist. He is going back in time to relive the life of someone who technically doesn't exist in the period of time that Cole is in.

    Now, the problem I am having is figuring out what happens in the future, after Cole comes back out of the machine. How would recreating Ethan's life (the one Cole went back for) change what happens? I don't want to create a continoum where Cole is going back over and over.

    I also wanted to explain that Cole is going back because he needs to find "a key" in Ethan's past in order to fight a threat in the future.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    So he actually becomes Ethan, during the same period that he, Cole, is living? Is there another Cole co-existing while Cole is being Ethan? Do the two ever meet?
     
  3. The_Raven
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    The_Raven Member

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    In my head, it was a lot simpler, but now that I've put it into words, I see many problems. What I'm thinking is that Ethan DOES exist during Cole's time in the future. Ethan is the enemy trying to stop Cole. The machine Cole uses has one of Ethan's memories. The reason Ethan technically doesn't exist in this timeline is because the knowledge of his past before being revived was wiped.
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think I see. So if the 'modern' Ethan has already lived the past that Cole is going to recreate, but he just can't remember it, then I don't think anything would have changed when Cole comes back.
     
  5. The_Raven
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    The_Raven Member

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    Ah, alright. You see, I'm just barely starting on writing, even though I cane up with the idea for the whole series 3 or so years ago. I just didn't want to end up in a continuum or anything like that. I guess it wouldn't end up in a continuum if Cole was recreating a memory, now that I think of it. Thank you.
     
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Just remember, you're the author. You can manipulate things to remove tricky problems. :) Good luck!
     
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  7. ShalaylaW
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    ShalaylaW Member

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    So, I'm writing a very, very complicated time idea in my story as well, and I can see your issue. It's not about either character, whether they actually exist or not, or just their memories, but something very simple.
    It's what you make the machine capable of.
    You have to remember this is fantasy :) you can do anything you want as long as it makes a certain type of sense. So what is it you want the machine to do? If it's time traveling, then you have to make Ethan someone who does exist because a time machine cannot go back to something that isn't there unless you wish to go back and MAKE him exist to obtain this key. But it sounds like you want to make the machine able to open up a dimension, empty it and fill it with a reality that Ethan does exist, from his memories. Memory machine? Then you would have to worry about whether or not anything you obtain from there IS real.
    I don't know if it makes sense, but just think about the capabilities of the machine, and let it's powers sort out the timey-wimey stuff :)
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Stories need reasons, they need underlying conflict, characters need goals. Going back in time is an action, what is the purpose?

    I'll give you an example from the critique of my chapter last Wed by my critique group. My character is on the way to get an device (a future version of a tablet) because it has unaltered history on it. His outer goal for this action is to use the information to effect change in the society.

    And he's being helped by a character that doesn't trust him. So they deal with some issues of the distrust, they will come back from the journey as good friends. So one goal for me as the storyteller is to have them work out their conflict.

    Then there is my character's inner goal, he hates his father (a selfish evil man) but fears he is like the man. Part of the distrust the other character has is based on things my character has done that makes him even more self conscious about being like his father.

    So in the critique, I had some successful tension between the two that was easing, and I had some exposition about the item they were retrieving that the readers needed to know. But what I didn't do was use the opportunity to address the character's inner goal.

    It helps to write that up, but I digress.

    So what I see in your story is a lot of action, some interesting things happen, but the answer to your question requires some thought on what the story actually is about?

    It's needed to answer your question, "How would recreating Ethan's life (the one Cole went back for) change what happens?"

    What is your story about? You'll need to answer that, (or tell us if you already know), for us to answer your question.
     
  9. The_Raven
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    The story is about Ethan starting a revolution. Long story short, revolution fails, Ethan goes crazy and becomes a tyrant. The entity that revives Ethan after being killed decides to erase the memories of his actions and therefore the memory of Ethan himself is gone. Cole needs to find what happened in the past, how Ethan nearly killed the entity, and other things that were learned.
     

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