1. Eric242
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    Eric242 Member

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    Trouble describing travelling across dimensions

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Eric242, Mar 4, 2013.

    Hello everyone. I would like your thoughts!

    So I have an idea for a sci-fi love/tragedy story. So cliff notes summary before I get to my question: Basically it is about this married couple. In one dimension (let's call it dimension A) the wife dies. In the other dimension the wife lives (dimension B). Now the dimension A husband is so overcome with grief and longing that he begins to see through to dimension B where his wife still lives, and eventually crosses over.

    The difficulty I'm having is describing this 'seeing through the dimensions' thing without bluntly saying it! I can't seem to think of a way to explain that what he is seeing is another dimension and second of all how to describe the transition from one to the other in a way that can actually be followed. I can't seem to find a decent way of explaining what is going on without saying it outright. I really want to avoid just saying it, but it seems so confusing otherwise. Of course it will be amazingly confusing for the man, but the reader should generally know what's going on. So, any thoughts on the matter?
     
  2. TracyH
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    TracyH Member

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    Maybe the husband sees through to the other dimension when he tries to fall asleep. Or in his grief, he begins to drink heavily, and while drunk, he glimpses his wife still alive. Perhaps he seeks counseling, gets hypnotized, and sees the other world. Work off his grief, it's a powerful emotion. I think once you find a way that he sees Dimesion B, you'll be able to transition him.

    Good luck, and let us know what you come up with.
     
  3. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Actually, there is a similar storyline in the show, Awake. In one reality his wife dies, in the other his son dies. Every time he falls asleep, he wakes up in the other world. I don't mean to discourage you, because even though this has been done in a TV show doesn't mean you can't do it well in a story. You probably want to watch the show to see what they did, what was effective, what could have been improved, etc.

    To answer your question, try using a device of some kind. Something that happens right before he transitions. It could be every time he finds broken glass or something, or maybe a portal opens up in front of him. Or maybe he starts to see "ghosts" that are really just the people or furniture, etc. from the other dimension phasing into his reality.

    I also like Tracy's idea of him getting drunk. Not that he has to get drunk, but in that it costs something for him to travel there. There is a certain amount of danger in getting drunk, and it's a process, and maybe sometimes he doesn't get drunk enough. It could be other drugs, or running so hard he almost faints, or anything else that has serious repercussions.
     
  4. Mot
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    Mot Member

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    I can't get the image of a man mourning over his paper wife out of my head. I'm not a big sci-fi reader, but I thought dimensions were literally the number of planes of one point in space (2D having two planes, 3D having three..)?

    The film Inception was a little like this, where you would fall asleep to move into the next dreamworld (I can't remember what they called them), and death in the second world would bring you back to the first.

    The Subtle Knife (Philip Pullman) allowed the character to move into different worlds by cutting a hole in, I don't know, the fabric of the current universe and then using it as a trapdoor.

    There was also a Doctor Who episode where the characters would move in and out of alternate realities by falling asleep. They also use a big fat time-machine, but I expect you are after something a little more subtle.

    I agree with the others. Something has to 'trigger' his movement. The film A Matter of Life and Death had the character smell fried onions immediately before someone travelled into his reality, and he travelled to their reality/world/heaven in a variety of ways (including a general anaesthetic- the Native American/South American/Amazonian tribespeople also used hallucinogenic drugs to traverse into the spirit world).

    There's a particular tribe in the Amazon that uses multiple (as in, hundreds of) stings from bullet ants (so called because the stings are as painful as being shot) to induce a sort of mania (and then communicate with the spirit world etc.). Perhaps the trigger is an insect bite?
     
  5. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    this! :)
     
  6. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Dimension has multiple meanings. One is the physical dimensions you describe, and the other is that it's a synonym for "Parallel Universe." Of course, the idea of parallel universes (as described in this story) is entirely possible given what we know about theoretical physics.
     
  7. BitPoet
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    BitPoet Member

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    You have to be careful there because, the way you describe it, it is fantasy, not scifi. Unless you have a truly believable device that helps him transition dimensions (and I'm not talking about alcohol or falling asleep) your readers will not agree to the often cited "willful suspension of disbelief". Fifty years ago, scifi had a lot more leeway, because most people weren't as educated and a lot of the things about astrophysics discovered since were just abstract concepts. Like e.g. meditating to get your body to resonate in a certain frequency to make you invisible - a valid tool in scifi in the fifties, but nothing more than an esoteric concept nowadays. This is one main reason why writing good scifi is getting increasingly harder.

    That's not to say you shouldn't write this story, just make sure you don't raise expectations you don't plan to meet. Call it scifi if you have solid technical explanations, call it fantasy if you need metaphysical explanations. Or even call it both.

    So, to they way he transitions dimensions - in a metaphysical setting there are many used and proven tools that might work, like mirrors or other reflecting surfaces. We grew up with stories about mirrors that don't show vampires, with scrying mirrors and the bad queen tracing snowwhite's whereabouts in a bowl of shimmering liquid, so we almost expect the unexpected as soon as we encounter the magic word "mirror". It often feels like using cliché, but it works. If it should be true scifi, on the other hand, you'll need a tool and good explanations why it works. A digital movie camera might be the key to seeing into the other world, but it still doesn't explain why it opens a dimensional pathway, so you'll have to add a bit of complexity to the story. You say it was a car crash. Perhaps with a secret military transporter involved, which was carrying a huge load of entangled particles, with their corresponding particles having been sent through wormholes in a particle accelerator? Those particles and their counterparts being in two different dimensions could explain a dimensional duality in everyone and everything present at the time of the crash - even if the concept of "contageous particle entanglement" might be a bit far-fetched, it is still in a scientific area with a lot of room for speculation. So your MC could return to the scene of the accident, maybe even have to make his way through cascades of military blockades, and be finally shifted to the other dimension by the remaining particles.

    funkybassmannick and Sanjuricus make a good point that it should cost the MC something to get to the other dimension. I'd even say he has to actively do something to get there. Simply being grieve-stricken and getting drunk won't make your readers sympathise with him for long. He needs to do something, anything, to overcome the hopelessness of the situation. It needs not even be reasonable, but it must be something that is hard for him.
     
  8. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    Sounds like a great twist on a ghost story! Have him see her as a ghostly apparition that becomes more solid as he slowly crosses over.
     
  9. 33percent
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    33percent Member

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    There is time machine where he tried going back in time to save his wife. She died regardless but having a different situation of death. Also there is timeline.
     
  10. Eric242
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    Eric242 Member

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    Wow you guys are great. Really quick replies on this forum. Good sign. Alright, let's see...

    The drink was going to be a part of it. I think the poor guy would think he was losing it :( I like the idea about being hypnotized. Something to consider.

    I did not know about this! I should watch that. Thanks for letting me know.

    Oh I like these ideas! Thank you for the help. Definitely like the idea of one thing that happens right before he travels...

    Hahaha that is amazing. You are correct, but 'dimensions' can also refer to parallel dimensions like funkybass said.

    That's cool about the fried onions smell. Also: I remember that Doctor Who episode! That was a fun one :)

    Thanks for all the interesting ideas!

    True! It will primarily be a love story, but you are correct, it is more of a fantasy story than scifi. There's no science involved in my explanation now that I think about it, so thank you for pointing this out. Definitely not scifi.

    That is a good call bitpoet. Very good advice. And thanks for all the cool sci-fi ideas. I will stick with the metaphysical concepts though for this particularly story.


    Thanks for all the help everyone! Lots of really good feedback here. You've given me some thoughts to paw over. I'm glad I posted here for help.
     
  11. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Watch the tv series Fringe. The setting is identical after some point only his son dies, not his wife. They did it quite nicely there, you can take ideas.
     
  12. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    There's an interesting Fringe episode similar to this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6B_(Fringe)
    in one universe the husband dies, in the other the wife does. Their emotional connection between universes weakens the barrier between them and they start to see "ghosts" of each other.
     
  13. Eric242
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    Eric242 Member

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    Fringe is great. So crazy.

    Really? Don't recall that one. I'll have to rewatch it.
     

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