1. CloudIX

    CloudIX New Member

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    Need help with plot involving time travel

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by CloudIX, Feb 25, 2021.

    Let me start with a little bit of context in as little detail as possible. My story has the protagonist, or younger self, and antagonist, or older self, as the same person but younger self and the reader don't know that for most of the story. The antagonist and the rest of the world are granted the ability to manipulate the elements when he's near middle age. He masters every element and discovers the power of void when he's much older. He can manipulate space and time. He's power hungry and decides to go back in time when his mother is pregnant with him and forces her a hundred years into the future so that he's born with these powers and the elements are well researched and practiced by many people at this point, except void. No one has mastered all the elements to learn void except him. His mother dies giving birth and he, the protagonist now, is born in a remote place. The antagonist stays hidden but keeps a close watch on him. When the protagonist becomes an adult, the antagonist reveals himself, kills some people close to the protagonist, and this catapults the protagonist to master the elements he's now had since birth.

    The main issue is plot holes. Presumably, older self is going through changes every moment of younger self's life no matter the timeline. So I was separating their progression from the timeline I guess. So when older self thrusts younger self into the future to be born there, that is now younger self's present. Older self still has memories from his timeline but they change as younger self goes through his present, but he doesn't immediately realize this because when the change happens, it's as if it had always been that way. At first, each change is so minor that it doesn't affect him to the point of forcing him to realize that there's been any change in the first place. (I hope this makes sense.) But I suppose I could instead just throw in that he doesn't realize changes are happening because of the timeline change to avoid plot holes involving the changes at all. I had figured that because the older self changed the younger self's setting/environment so much that the younger self could use this along with finding love, something the older self never had, to prevent himself from becoming older self. I had thought that once younger self makes a final breakthrough to prevent himself from becoming older self, that older self would just cease to exist. I think this necessitates time being nonlinear, and more like a fluid overlapping thing because otherwise the antagonist wouldn't be able to bring what happens to him back to his present. Although, I could say he stays in the future since he made that his present when he brought his younger self to the future. Either way would involve explaining things away by him being able to manipulate time and space. Is this too convoluted? Does it actually make sense within context?

    At first, I had him just go to the past to try and change himself but this similarly caused issues with how the protagonist could beat someone that knows everything he thinks and does at the time he thinks or does it, and I think would make it harder to explain why older self wouldn't realize that he changes every time younger self strays from becoming older self. (Though the part about realizing he's changing might not necessarily be a bad thing. I could finagle it to be part of the conflict.) Also, I would have to change much of the back story to be further in the past since I had it involve older self. The ability to manipulate the elements would have to happen to older self much earlier, otherwise there's no point in older self going back to the past to make himself stronger if that ability didn't even exist until he was middle age.

    Hopefully, this isn't too confusing. I'm still working on getting it to make sense in my head, but at this point I'm starting to confuse myself with remembering what makes sense and what doesn't every time I work on filling plot holes. So I figured I could get some outside opinions/advice before I start pulling my hair out.
     
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Senior Member

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    In the film Frequency, the protagonist remembered both timelines, the original and the one he created by communicating with his father in the past. I guess it would take more effort to satisfy the expectations of a book reader, but it could be done.

    Is the book called 'Mobius' or some variant?
     
  3. CloudIX

    CloudIX New Member

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    I remember watching that movie over a decade ago. I'll have to watch it again.

    I named my book Forever Awakened, and I'll probably end up turning it into 2 or 3 books with the first one called Into Reality. Why do you ask if it's called Mobius?
     
  4. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    Looper already covered this so check that out. Also Predestination.
     
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  5. CloudIX

    CloudIX New Member

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    I actually watched Looper a couple of days ago for inspiration. It was good. I just don't want my protagonist to have to end himself lol. Also, the plot didn't really involve changing himself or worrying too much about that. I'll check out Predestination.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  6. CloudIX

    CloudIX New Member

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    I watched Predestination, and it might be one of my favorite movies now. It has the same issue as Looper though. Everything I've watched or read that has to do with time travel has the plot and character turn out to be something that couldn't change and I'm over here trying to change my character's destiny. *sigh
     
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Senior Member

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    Have you watched Primer?
     
  8. CloudIX

    CloudIX New Member

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    Yes, I thought it was pretty good. It doesn't really explain a whole lot about how the changes affect themselves though, even though they are at first scared to run in to themselves. In the end, the movie leaves that interpretation open ended so you never really know how they affected themselves or any of the timelines they caused.
     
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  9. SofiaMatias

    SofiaMatias New Member

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    The television series The Flash deals with time travel a lot, so I would recommend it in general to see how they handle it, and the consequences of them messing with timelines too much. But season 3 particularly reminds me a little of what you are trying to do.

    The villain for the season is Savitar, a speedster that seems to rival Barry Allen in every way and always be one step ahead of him, and who will kill Barry's girlfriend (Barry has visions of the future). Towards the end of the season he is revealed to be (spoiler incoming!) a duplicate of Barry, which he created in an earlier season to defeat another speedster. Barry is unaware of this, but his duplicate shares all his memories, and still has a link to him. So, whenever Barry tries to change what will come to pass, Savitar immediately sees his memories of the events changing accordingly. I'm probably not doing it justice, but I would definitely recommend the show for the way it handles time travel, and how there are actual consequences to Barry messing with time.
     
  10. CloudIX

    CloudIX New Member

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    This series is what originally gave me the idea to have a protagonist the same person as the antagonist. I don't think my main issue has to do with time travel specifically though. It has more to do with the plot holes involving my two characters, whom are the same person, and how they affect each other because of time travel.
     
  11. CloudIX

    CloudIX New Member

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    I think what I may do is have older self go through his original plot so that I keep what was my prologue or backstory, but instead of him bringing younger self into the future, I'll have him travel further back into the past to set off events sooner than they originally happened in order for younger self to still be born with his elemental abilities, and then find his younger self without ever bringing him into the future. This would make the changes they go through make more sense in the timeline while at the same time still changing his life so that I can work around why older self can't predict everything younger self will think and do.

    I know it's a lot to think about, but any advice/opinions on my own plot would be appreciated.
     
  12. The Multiverse

    The Multiverse Member

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    To avoid further confusion, i suggest using multiverse theory. He travels back to an alternate his own past and creates a branch in the timeline. All changes made by adult MC won't effect adult MC. After adult MC finds an outcome he finds ideal, you just need a McGuffin to merge the two timelines together. This should give you the flexibility needed to make changes without them directly effecting the adult MC's own history. I hope some of this is useful.
     
  13. SFC Donnell

    SFC Donnell New Member

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    Well in time travel, there are several ideas, the main one is that you can change the past. The other is that you can NOT change the past.

    Now plot holes can be explained away as something happened to change what ever and then the change was later changed creating a paradox.

    Internal consistency within your book should explain the plot holes.
     

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