1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Should I have a time machine in a subplot, but not the main plot?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Apr 12, 2016.

    I have an idea for a story that's a western, but there is a subplot where I thought I could tie some things together by using a time machine. But it would just be used in a subplot only, and not come back to again.

    Well maybe it could, but so far in the plot I do not have a reason to bring it back. Would it come off as random or contrived, if I just had it for a subplot only?
     
  2. SadStories
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    SadStories Member

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    I'm going to suddenly bring in time traveling at the end of my novel, but I also have 30 page duels and homicidal angels.

    I'd say it all depends on your style/tone.

    Generally I would advise not to do something like this though. If you have a perfectly normal Western story and suddenly have time machines, especially if it's mainly there to "tie some things together" (isn't that textbook deus ex machina?), don't do it.

    If you're like, "But that doesn't cover it at all!!! You do not understand my genius!!!!!" Please do it. My thoughts anyway.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Usually it's considered a deux ex machina if it's near the end though. If the time machine subplot is in the first act mostly, as well as the first half of the second, does that make it seem like less of a deux ex machina?
     
  4. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well that all depends on where you are going with this whole time machine thing. It could muddy things up a bit, depending on how in-depth you main plot is. I too have pondered the use of a time machine for a side WIP, but my friend told me that it would muddy up the overall plot which is already over the top and complex. :p

    I sad Cave Troll :(. Now I will never get to write about hardened criminals squaring off with raptors in a Gladiatorial like arena. But I digress. :D

    So like I said, make sure it won't muddy up your main plot. Other than that I say go for it, and good luck. :superidea:
     
  5. SadStories
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    SadStories Member

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    Hmmm, I don't think that helps. At the end of the day it still sounds like you're shoehorning in something that doesn't sound like it goes very well with the rest of your story, just to get yourself out of a corner. You might be able to change the rest of your story to make it not feel out of place though. For example if you sprinkle your setting with other random science-fiction details ... Maybe people use ray guns for no reason, and maybe a character at some point overhears some people talking about how time machines have been ruled forbidden weapons after this or that event that ruined this or that town many years ago.
     
  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well I might make it more of the main plot then, or I will not use it at all. I will have to develop more of the plot first. Thanks for the input.
     
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