1. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland

    Time travel plot (don't worry, it's easy to follow!!)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Patrick94, Apr 18, 2011.

    The grandfather paradox (problem) - go back in time and kill your grandfather before you were born, but then you could not have been born, ergo your grandfather does not die as you don't exist. But if your grandfather doesn't die, you must exist! This is why some scientists believe that time travel is not possible (and why some people hate science). Others argue that it could be possible, however once you're born, if you go back in time you cannot kill your grandfather.

    Now put that in this context. The protagonist (Kieth) sees the world implode before his eyes, fallen at the hands of an evil man (Tommy). But Kieth has once last chance to save humanity; time travel back in time (duh) and kill one of Tommy's biological parents/grandparents etc. Two problems. 1) The above forestated theory. 2) Keith is the perpetual good guy - how can he possibly bring himself to kill someone?


    Could the people of this forum please help me to make a story out of this?

    EDIT: The two problems are supposed to be there for Keith to figure out
     
  2. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    Well I don't think the aforementioned theory really has a place in it unless Keith and Tommy are related? Are they brothers or something? Otherwise he can kill someone else's parent and not cease to exist, therefor be unable to kill them. Correct?

    As far as him bringing himself to kill someone.. people can do extraordinary things under the right circumstances, the right stress. Things that are completely out of character. If he is saving the world that probably applies. All you have to do is decide how he's going to justify it, how he'll rationalize it. Self preservation alone is incredibly motivating.
     
  3. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Yeah the killing thing is easy just make him a strong noble character.


    And making is possible is just a case of as it is fantasy you can tweak the laws - set it in your own universe make up the rules and it becomes possible - however in most scenarios you have to work out what else will change.
     
  4. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland
    Damn! What I wanted was a situation where Keith had to figure out a way to kill Tommy's creators (yeah, bad word there :p) but you ruined it :(

    :p But thanks for that, I wouldn't have figured it out! xD Is there any other way I could make this work?
     
  5. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland
    Wait, wait, the two problems are supposed to be there for Keith to figure out, sorry if I didn't make that obvious :p
     
  6. funkybassmannick
    Offline

    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    So, basically, you're saying that Keith goes back in time before Tommy can destroy the planet, but he only goes back in time because Keith DOES destroy the planet. Trish is right, it doesn't end up killing Keith when he was a baby or anything, so it's not like it invokes a grandfather paradox. Simply have him time travel to the past, fix the problem, then time travel to the future where the problem never occurred. It's the classic, he knows what happened, but no one else has a clue. Or, he has a vague inkling, but it fades with time as he adjusts to the new timeline.

    Whenever an author is messing with time travel, she or he needs to redefine how time travel works within the context of their novel. It's science fiction, not science fact. Just stick to your own rules.
     
  7. funkybassmannick
    Offline

    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    In Animorphs Megamorphs #3, they defeat the bad guy by making it so his parents never meet...
     
  8. Smoke
    Offline

    Smoke Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    6
    Look up Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act. Without going into the "you have no reason to go into the past because there are no multiple timelines" tangle, Either the time-traveler will fail to kill him, or something else will replace him. That's assuming that fate needed something to happen.


    I think it might be possible for a good guy to have his heart break hard enough that the stain of one death can weigh against preventing planetary implosion. If I saw a hero take his hand off the trigger with that sort of stakes, I would violently cuss him out. (Actually, the more interesting story might be how he succeeds in saving the world, but spends years trying to come to terms with that one death.)

    Of course, there is the wussy-if-done-wrong option of killing him without killing anyone. Diverting his grandfather to become a castrato singer should be plenty, or even breaking up his parents' relationship or otherwise making sure they never meet. (Makes me itch to do a story about a kindly architect who is tapped by a higher power to become involved in the "unmasking of evil" like destiny wanted him to.)
     
  9. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland
    Here's an idea. He tries to kill the father (etc.) but finds he can't (not moral problem.) Then, disaster - he gets arrested. In prison, he has a long think to himself and figurea, based on the grandfather paradox, himself and Tommy must be brothers(!!).

    I want it to be a thriller with lots of twists like that
     
  10. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland
    If you want to write a story, go for it!!!
     
  11. Smoke
    Offline

    Smoke Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    6
    An extra twist is that "no they're not" and there's really another rule of time-travel holding him back. I don't think I've seen many stories where they invent a time machine without knowing the rules about how time travel works. I don't know how many different theories about time travel there are, but it might be fun to arrange them in order and have each theory look true until something comes along to break it.

    Something reminds me of the love-story version of the "Time Machine." The director commentary said that they originally had him try to save her life about eight times before he realized that he needed to figure out why it didn't work in the first place.She would distract him from making the machine in the first place. <-- Spoiler.




    Writing a story about a non-evil Hitler would require a lot of research, and would probably look suspicious enough that I'd get an eye on me. Of course I'd also have to hire a lawyer to make my disclaimer clear about the difference between being born evil and being hammered into an evil shape by non-evil events. (Disclaimer because I wouldn't want any elderly Jews to die from heart-trouble related to reading the fic, I don't want to be exiled from Germany, and it would be a contract for people to read it before sending hate mail.)
     
  12. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Maybe he finds the time travel machine ?? Ancient civilisation stuff, maybe the grandfather made it. They have to travel a further generation back for some reason to do it and even more changes. Maybe you have to kill your own ancestor you can't kill someone else's so - they have to find an ancestor they both shared wiping all of them out.
     
  13. Porcupine
    Offline

    Porcupine Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Can you tell me a little more precisely what you want your MC to do?

    A. He sees the world "imploding before his eyes", goes back in time, prevents something from happening, travels back to the present, where he meets all his friends and says "well good job I saved the world, fellas!".

    B. He travels back in time, saves the world, and then stays in the past.

    c. He travels back in time, saves the world, travels back to the future, and none of his friends or family or acquaintances exist. The whole world is slightly different, even if the big danger he eliminated never arose.

    B and C might work. I can't see how A would work.
     
  14. Jonp
    Offline

    Jonp Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    3
    How about this:
    He travels back in time and meets Tommy's grandparents before they get pregnant. He ends up falling in love with Tommy's grandmother, and, assuming that since the original grandfather is out of the picture that Tommy no longer exists, settles down and starts a life with her. When she gets pregnant with his child, he takes a short trip back to the present just to check everything is ok, only to find out that Tommy still exists (looking different, named different, but still bad), and is his grandson.

    What is he to do now?
     
  15. Coreen Hipae
    Offline

    Coreen Hipae Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Central Oregon
    I personally subscribe to several theories. A couple of which I like to believe I thought of myself, of course being there is nothing new out there it must not be totally original.

    I look at time as a web, it branches off reconnects and over all is a mess. This allows for the multiple universe theory to take effect as well. Where every action can create a parallel world and essentially universe.
    As for the Time Web theory, I always like to use, that because we are in a 3D universe and existence that the Tim Web itself is 3D. So those car keys you just put on the table, and you know they are there but you can't seem to find them for the life of you, are still their. They just happened to rotate to the other side of the web and will eventually pop back around and thus be right where you put them, and you could have sworn you just looked there and they were not there.

    I also go off of the theory of the if you traveled back in time to stop or do something when you arrived back you would have had no reason to do the deed so you never did it thus it still happens/not happens and thus you are stuck in a perpetual loop of doing and not doing.
     
  16. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,123
    Likes Received:
    5,322
    Location:
    California, US
    If he goes back in time to kill one of Tommy's parents or grandparents, etc. I think you do have a big moral problem if Keith is a good guy. He's going back in time and killing an innocent person in order to stop something that one of their descendants does.
     
  17. Smoke
    Offline

    Smoke Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    6
    The 3D-web thing is very confusing, but it sounds like a "history doesn't like to change" scenario. You changed one thing, maybe think of it in a y-shaped marble trap in a domino array. The marble may tend to go southish, but you blow it northish, but it doesn't matter because both paths lead to the next step in the array. (Or did you really set up that complex spiraling mosaic only to have the dinky bell-ringing path be possible?)

    From what I understand of rivers, they develop oxbows. There is a bend that eventually straightens again because of erosion, but it leaves a swamp next to the river.
     
  18. Coreen Hipae
    Offline

    Coreen Hipae Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Central Oregon
    The 3D web thing is one of the theories I developed for a book I attempted to write then lost when my previous computer became slag.
    Think of it first as a simple 2D web but a web without a simple spider web pattern. You start at point A and there is only one of those but you can have ten different points Bs to go to. You are traveling down the path and you have three paths in front of you, a right, a left, and a straight. Straight leads to what I will call B1, Left also lead to B1 but its a different path thus something different has happened but still ends up at the same ending. The right path leads off to either B2, or to yet another branch off, and so one and so forth.

    This allows for multiple ideas to be true. The parallel world theory (which can be used with the web because every action you do can create a parallel world so the walking the web could be done in real time not changing history but just deciding the future), the history can be changed but the outcome will be the same, history can't really be changed, or the opposite history can be changed and thus a whole new different outcome.

    The 3D aspect comes into play with the example a give, now think of the web as not lines but pipes. We are on the outside of the pipes so we could in theory rotate around and be on the opposite side. This allows for my example of you setting your keys down on the table, and when you come back they are not there. You obviously just looked there and they are not there so you look elsewhere. Yet when you go back for one last look, hey there they are. This is because the keys are still in the same physical spot just rotating around the web pipe and coming back around to reappear basically.
     
  19. Porcupine
    Offline

    Porcupine Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    But why would they only appear / disappear when you are not looking? :)
     
  20. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland
    I meant implode figuratively, ie a serious world war or something

    What if he goes back in time to save the world, only to wake up and realise he was only dreaming and time travel is impossible?

    What if he saves the world, and everything is back to normal?

    What if he destroys the world?

    What if he activates the butterfly effect and creates a mutant species in a distant dimension/universe?

    I'm still working out the major kinks in the plot tbh


    and yeah Steerpike I think he'd really struggle to kill someone, even if they were harbingers of a 'great' war, it could be another subplot he'd have to face
     
  21. Smoke
    Offline

    Smoke Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    6
    Reality filter. If the keys disappear when you are looking, it does something to your brain to tell you that you actually weren't just looking at your keys being on the table.

    I'm constantly surprised when I find a television show that I knew about but didn't think was real.
     
  22. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland
    What about if you could go back in time, but somehow had to maintain a link with your current present, like an invisible 'Time Chain'? Like bungee jumping through space and time, that would be awesome. Something like that?
     
  23. NateSean
    Offline

    NateSean Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Salem, Mass
    Small thing you need to consider. If I could come up with a story that I thought would be publishable, using the idea that you gave me, why would I give you credit for it?

    Just something to think about.
     
  24. Patrick94
    Offline

    Patrick94 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Ireland
    You shouldn't.

    Ideas come from what we experience. We subconsciously evolve and grow every day through experiencing life, reading, watching tv, observing others. I saw the time travel thread in the research forum, and it inspired me to start this. You may see a theory or idea in here you like, and use it. What's wrong with that? And, of course, what if I post my plot's final draft and you decide to use it too? Brilliant! Not only does the story have twice the chance of getting published, but I have competition! If ever you feel you're not good enough to write what you want, you should give up.
     
    1 person likes this.
  25. Finhorn
    Offline

    Finhorn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Patrick ^^"What if he goes back in time to save the world, only to wake up and realise he was only dreaming and time travel is impossible?" -- No!!! Please!! I hate stories where everything is just a dream.

    "What if he saves the world, and everything is back to normal?" -- First you have to define normal. Is normal 10 years before the story took place or is it what the world should look like had there been no war?

    "What if he destroys the world?" -- Why? In an attempt to be ironic? It's be a hard sell to the reader. Ha Ha, I killed all the charters and there's no chance of anything good ever happening again.

    "What if he activates the butterfly effect and creates a mutant species in a distant dimension/universe?" -- Blah. See my rant.


    My Rant

    First, you're using the wrong paradox. Think of it instead as five year old Bob, sees his dad run over by a car. So he dedicates the next 45 years to building a time machine and going back to stop it. He goes back, stops it, and little Bob no longer has a need to build a time machine. 45 years pass, Bob doesn't go back in time, so his dad is never saved and the universe explodes in a puff of logic (or perhaps black is declared white and scientists get killed at zebra crossings - Douglas Adams).

    That's more like your situation. When they tackled it in Dr. Who they had monsters come from beyond time to destroy their world for causing problems (This lead to a more Dr. Who type plot that was solved without the use of time travel).

    Star Trek solved it by changing the problem. The time travel prompting event wasn't solved in the past, it was solved in the present by using something from the past. (Star Trek IV, they go back and get whales to prevent the world from being destroyed). Then to "avoid" the butterfly effect, they took whales that were about to be killed anyway.

    That may be the solution for you as well. Instead of trying go back and kill the bad guy, the good guy could go back and try to set a trap for the bad guy to fall into into the 'present.' Or even bring something back to the future with him that would satisfy the bad guy's wants. for this you have to ask why the bad guy wants to destroy things. It's not often for power, power is just a means to an end.

    One more solution I heard of, I sadly I haven't seen and don't remember the name of the movie. I hear it wasn't great, but the concept is sound. Joe saw he dad die when he was just 5ish. Joe spends his life building a time communicator, instead of a time machine. With the communicator he calls his dad (like on a radio in the shop), gives him the communicator plans, dad builds one, then they can talk two ways. Joe warns Dad he's going to die. Dad asks questions, then accepts the plan on how not to die (don't go outside that day). Joe looks around. No dad. It didn't work. They keep trying more complex things with Joe's world changing, sometimes drasticly, around him.

    The beauty of the story is that since the 'past' isn't changing. There we're just telling the story of Joe's Dad trying desperately to do something to prevent his impending death. The 'future' is grand because we get to see all the effects that monkeying with time can do without completely destroying the story.

    You could try something similar. Your hero communicates with himself form ten years before. Then I think it gets more fun because those internal "could I hurt someone" conflicts that your hero has can be done out loud while 'future' argues with 'past' over the concept of 'the needs of the many.'

    One last thing before I end my rant. Modern scientific theory (if you really really want I can go find the journal articles but I'm to lazy to do it now) says that time, as a dimension, is more like the other three than we first thought. the major difference is that we'd need a portal to move in and out of it. Without boring with portal theories, suffice it to say, you could not travel farther back in time than the first portal. But that changes the 'rules' of time travel completely and you almost have to use multiple dimensions to keep it all strait.

    Hope that helped a little.
     

Share This Page