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justlukeyou
08-31-2014, 01:34 AM
Hi,

Have you written a time travel book? If so what process did you follow, what happened and how did the book turnout?

Osulagh
08-31-2014, 01:44 AM
What do you mean by process? Just write the book the way you wish to.

Brightdreamer
08-31-2014, 02:04 AM
Well, I haven't written one yet, but some weird old lady turned up on my doorstep the other day babbling something about annoying fans and cruddy movie deals and paradoxes-be-damned, then she tried to beat me to death with a book that looked like it had my name on the front...

In other words, I'm not sure what the point of this question is, as it seems rather vague. Are you asking how to write a time travel story, or if it's worth the effort to write them? If you have an idea for a story about time travel, then write it. Nobody else's experience is going to write it for you, nor will it predict whether or not it's good or if it sells. If you're having trouble with a specific issue regarding this kind of story, then ask about that specific issue for a better chance of getting help.

JMHO...

blacbird
08-31-2014, 02:05 AM
I'm actually messing with one, but not very far along in the "process".

But, if you want to write a time travel story, by all means read the granddaddy of them all, The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells. This is the novel that established modern "science fiction" as a genre. Wells himself contributed to the coining of that term, when he referred to his numerous early works as "scientific romances".

To see your replies to this thread, I'll check back here yesterday.

caw

Buffysquirrel
08-31-2014, 02:18 AM
I'm currently editing my time travel novel in the hope of finally knocking it into shape.

Process? I'm a pantser. I start with a character or two and write. I was 20k into this novel before I knew it was about time travel. Once I get to the end, I set it aside and leave it for a bit, then go back and read through to find all the flaws. Then I edit it a bit at a time.

As for how it'll turn out, who knows? I'm fond of it.

Threak 17
08-31-2014, 09:11 AM
I haven't written a time travel story yet, but I've had one percolating in my head for the past few years.

kuwisdelu
08-31-2014, 09:14 AM
I published one a long time ago but I haven't started writing it yet.

Once!
08-31-2014, 11:11 AM
I have a vague notion three or four books down the line to write a comedy about time travel - exploring some of the paradoxes and loops that you could get yourself into.

Nogetsune
08-31-2014, 08:39 PM
In many of my fantasy settings magical time travel is often part of a high-level/skilled magic-user's arsenal. Now the stories may not focus primarily on time travel... But it does come up despite. However... My settings tend to be extremely high powered in general so time travel via spell is actually rather unimpressive when put next to other high-levl magics in my worlds(such as... You know... Creating and/or destroying enter words/planes/realities...making matter from nothing ect...)

I think that when you write a time travel story you should first decide what kind of time travel you want. Do you want techological/scientific time travel or magic-based time travel? How will this time travel function in terms of mechanics? Will it have any inherent dangers? Will travelers be able to interact with the times they visit or will they only be present s invisible spectators, unable to effect the world around them? What, if any paradoxes are possible and how disasterous would they be?

All of these questions and the countless others time travel as a concept creates can provide all kinds of fodder for a good story.,

screenscope
09-01-2014, 12:33 PM
My time travel novel was just published and I approached it like any other story, but the genre does throw up some unique problems. I was faced with one paradox after another, but in the end I think (hope) I came up with a good solution to each of them.

My feeling was that people will accept time travel as a 'fact' in a novel, but they won't accept inconstancies.

How did it turn out? Well, it got published and sales are pretty good in the first week and a half, but I'd need to travel into the future to see what happens.

JimmyB27
09-01-2014, 04:32 PM
I wrote a short story once about a guy who found out the hard way that if you time travel a day into the future, you might not find the Earth in the same place you left it. ;)

Echoing the confusion about the 'process', and exactly what you want from this thread though.

ebbrown
09-01-2014, 06:44 PM
I keep detailed notes that I always have in a separate window as I write. It is very easy to have inconsistencies when writing time travel, and your readers will pick up on it.

For organization, I have a summary of the entire series which lists all the major plot points. I highlight important events and make sure to make changes bright red, so I can double check them later. I usually have this reduced at the bottom of my screen so I can refer to it as needed.

The individual books in the series each get a plot summary, but then are detailed down further. I break it down into chapters, but you could easily just divide it into sections or whatever you want. The idea is to have a short synopsis of what should happen in each chapter/scene. I do this to ensure that every detail I need is where I need it, and at a glance I can refer back to the plot summary to see the chronological flow of the entire book. (Which isn't always cut and dry with time travel, but I need some sort of constant!)

I also use the "view navigation" option with both documents, which makes it very easy to move back and forth and keep it all straight.

Yeah, I know it seems like a lot of plotting, especially for a former pantser. However, I have found that it is essential to have good organization when writing time travel, and even more important when writing a time travel series.

I linked to a screen shot of how I have it set up. This is an example of the workflow from one of my books in the series.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204236154891647&l=3dc77de070

Smiling Ted
09-01-2014, 09:42 PM
I was going to write a time travel book, but then someone told me to forget about it and gave me a lottery number to play instead. Does anyone know how I can get in touch with JG Wentworth?

PaulLev
10-14-2014, 07:16 AM
I've had two time travel novels published - The Plot to Save Socrates, and its sequel Unburning Alexandria - and the third novel in this Sierra Waters, trilogy, Chronica, is now available for pre-order. I've written about a dozen time-travel short stories, novelettes, and novellas, published mostly in Analog Magazine. The process of my writing is always the same - I come up with an idea, then make it up as I go along. I take pains to put my characters in almost impossible paradoxical situations, and then figure out a way to get them through it - or least, sometimes, survive. My strong sense, however, is that processes like this are very personal - they work for me, but may not work for anyone else. Best of luck with your writing.

thepicpic
10-14-2014, 10:07 AM
I wrote a few script scenes on time travel for a university assignment, so I am fully qualifiedTM to give this piece of advice, not just for writing time travel but anything:

Have fun.

Seriously though, it can get complicated very quickly, but it really can be fun. Don't rush it and maybe have someone to act as a sounding board if the time lines turn into timey wimey balls, but other than that it's just like writing anything else.

Michael Steven
10-14-2014, 10:41 AM
There's a lot of pseudo-science associated with time travel stories just like in movies they do many unrealistic things that are accepted as "real." People expect certain things and so those are given to them.

Bullets don't spark when the hit. There is no whoosh when a spaceship passes, nor is there a thrum of the engines. Tires don't screech on wet pavement, gravel or snow. Cranes don't collapse when too much weight is put on the cable (same goes for anchor winches). So on and so forth.

There is no "time line" with time travel. The paradox of time travel is always out there, waiting to bite you. But the biggest one that never gets addressed ... the planets move as does the solar system as does the galaxy. Where are you going to be, exactly, if you travel back or ahead even one minute?

With so much pseudo-science around time travel, I wouldn't worry too much about any of the big questions. Play with it and enjoy it. Remember this, though, time travel is the biggest deus ex machina ever invented, and always brings up the quetion, "If they can time travel, why don't they just ..." -- fill in the blank with an unexpected time travel solution to whatever problem you set up.

WriteMinded
10-14-2014, 04:56 PM
One of my novels involves time travel. I wrote the MC's experience of getting from one place time to another, and then I was through. It was a one-way trip.

Dennis E. Taylor
10-14-2014, 07:10 PM
Bullets don't spark when the hit. There is no whoosh when a spaceship passes, nor is there a thrum of the engines. Tires don't screech on wet pavement, gravel or snow. Cranes don't collapse when too much weight is put on the cable (same goes for anchor winches). So on and so forth.


And when Starsky and Hutch are hurrying to a crime scene, the car doesn't actually shift up through 23 gears.

Debeucci
10-14-2014, 09:20 PM
I wrote one. I'll let you know how it goes six months after it comes out.

MythMonger
10-14-2014, 09:57 PM
I published one a long time ago but I haven't started writing it yet.

I bet that's a motivation killer.

Tyler Silvaris
10-14-2014, 10:31 PM
I published one a long time ago but I haven't started writing it yet.

:e2point:


Hi,

Have you written a time travel book? If so what process did you follow, what happened and how did the book turnout?

I have started several books, but then again my total list of WIP is insane. That said, I consider myself the sort of nut job that likes to just sit around and discuss the limitless possibilities of time travel, temporal etiquette, and its spin-off the Many Worlds Interpretation.

In role-playing games I have used time travel as an element more than once and I think the use of it there is very similar to its use in writing in general.

The main trick is to decide when each destination is, and what could go wrong in each era. Seriously, if you're not prepared for the worst, you won't be able to write the story as things go the way you want. The quickest way to get enthusiastic readers up in arms with a time travel story is to have one of your characters do something in the past (even something innocent) and the side effects of that incident are not explored. Any change can spiral out of control, depending on which rules of Temporal Theory you use.)

Example from a book I was working on:

My MC travelled from his post-apocalyptic time period to late 20th New York City. He was familiar with the period (long story) and new he could blend in easily. However, in the course of this, the MC bumped a total stranger on the street. The two of them got into a very brief shouting match about who was at fault. Not more than 5 minutes.

What ultimately came to light was that the guy the MC bumped was actually supposed to be one of the crazies that nearly destroyed the world in the near future, creating the post-apocalyptic society the MC had just left. Because of that 5 minute delay, this guy missed meeting one of his future fellow crazies and thus didn't get recruited into the plot. The guy they hired instead was a hundred times crazier and the already awful apocalypse was made worse, resulting in the utter destruction of the world.

Enter the paradox: If things end in the early 21st century then there is not post-apocalyptic society for the MC to be living in during the 35th century. So he can't go back in time...so he can't bump into the guy...so that guy is hired...so the world is still ravaged but not destroyed...so then there is a society afterwards...so the MC can be there...so he can go back to the 20th... See the idea? This creates the nasty word "paradox" and again depending on the temporal theory you want to use, reality simply unravels itself and creation ceases to exist.

scifi_boy2002
10-14-2014, 10:39 PM
There's a lot of pseudo-science associated with time travel stories just like in movies they do many unrealistic things that are accepted as "real." People expect certain things and so those are given to them.

Bullets don't spark when the hit. There is no whoosh when a spaceship passes, nor is there a thrum of the engines. Tires don't screech on wet pavement, gravel or snow. Cranes don't collapse when too much weight is put on the cable (same goes for anchor winches). So on and so forth.

There is no "time line" with time travel. The paradox of time travel is always out there, waiting to bite you. But the biggest one that never gets addressed ... the planets move as does the solar system as does the galaxy. Where are you going to be, exactly, if you travel back or ahead even one minute?

With so much pseudo-science around time travel, I wouldn't worry too much about any of the big questions. Play with it and enjoy it. Remember this, though, time travel is the biggest deus ex machina ever invented, and always brings up the quetion, "If they can time travel, why don't they just ..." -- fill in the blank with an unexpected time travel solution to whatever problem you set up.


You are right. Time travel stories are filled with psuedo-science and I must admit my wip, which deals with time travel, suffers from some of what you listed. But one thing I do different is that all of that becomes a moot point in my novel. After getting stuck in 18th century Earth during the Revolutionary War, my MCS at first discuss the various theories of time travel and what is possible and what is not. Can they alter history? What are the real consequences if they do? But, in the end, it does not matter. They are stuck where they are and their main objective is to fix their ship, which was damaged after a crash landing, and find the antagonist. They don't worry too much about changing history (other than helping to defeat the British) but even then they don't do in fear of changing time, but just because they are patriotic. They just have to survive the situation and get out of it. They do in fact change history in minor ways, but in truth, they probably did not affect the outcome of the war. They have such a small part in the war, anyway. The only thing they change is their immediate situation.

I think the way I chose is a good way to go. Maybe not. My MCS question the perplexities of time travel, but do not have time to ponder them. The time travel aspect is just a place they happen to be in, not a do or die situation.

Reziac
10-15-2014, 02:04 AM
I went into the future and retrieved my completed manuscript. This saved a lot of trouble and effort. ;)

Varthikes
10-15-2014, 10:58 AM
I'm working on one right now. The story follows Mankind's first interstellar ship on her maiden voyage. The ship gets pulled into an anomaly that randomly sends them back a million years. They pass through the anomaly, or a similar anomaly, three more times in the hopes of returning to their original time, but it sends them to three more random time periods.

So, in all, there are five different time frames (counting the characters' original time frame), each with its own story.

cat_named_easter
10-15-2014, 04:45 PM
I've just written a first draft of one. It messed with my head so many times and at various points I just thought "screw it, I'm giving up, this won't make any sense." But in the end I (I think) worked out all the kinks and got it to a place where it should make sense.
My story is set in the future but I had random chapters in italics representing the past that was being "visited" by the future character.
Anything the character then affected was actually crucial to my plot, but he only changes little things that had small impacts on his present... if that makes sense.

WriteMinded
10-15-2014, 05:04 PM
I went into the future and retrieved my completed manuscript. This saved a lot of trouble and effort. ;)
You wrote it tomorrow, did ya? :D

Dennis E. Taylor
10-15-2014, 06:45 PM
You wrote it tomorrow, did ya? :D

No, he will have had written it tomorrow.

Reziac
10-15-2014, 06:59 PM
Well, that depends. If I wrote the manuscipt tomorrow, but I'd already been to the day after tomorrow first, then went back in time to retrieve the manuscript I wrote yesterday, which is tomorrow...

My brain hurts.

Michael Steven
10-15-2014, 07:30 PM
Like I said, that paradox of time travel is always waiting there to bite you :) If you went into the future to retrieve your completed manuscript and bring it back, how did it ever get completed in the first place? You didn't write it because it was already written.

Reziac
10-15-2014, 07:44 PM
I've discovered an easier way to do time travel which avoids such paradoxes. It involves a calendar, scissors, and tape. :eek:

Dennis E. Taylor
10-15-2014, 09:52 PM
I've discovered an easier way to do time travel which avoids such paradoxes. It involves a calendar, scissors, and tape. :eek:

And tequila. Tequila makes the world go 'round. (Or maybe just the room... )

Reziac
10-15-2014, 11:33 PM
I haven't tried tequila with a calendar. Should I use scotch, masking, or duct tape?

That would make for a funny story, tho -- someone who does time travel by rearranging a calendar. :D

PorterStarrByrd
10-16-2014, 10:46 PM
I used one in a historical novel, as a minor facet

WriteMinded
10-17-2014, 05:25 PM
I haven't tried tequila with a calendar. Should I use scotch, masking, or duct tape?
Video tape, please. :D

Chromodynamic
10-17-2014, 06:54 PM
I developed an idea once.

It was about a scientist in his thirties who had discovered a way to use neutrinos as means of communication. That discovery made the internet much faster and cheaper since you could send information through the earth directly instead of sending it around through massive cables. As a result, he became very wealthy.

He also had a wife and a kid who he loved very much. Basically, he had the perfect life and as a scientist, he had all the money to toy with stuff. That's how he discoveries the possibility for time travel.

After some successful tests that set his doubts aside, he decides to try it. What does he do? The most cliche thing any time traveler could possibly do of course, go back and kill Hitler.

He does, and of course the world is changed drastically. He goes back to his timeline to see the changes, and although his grandfather hadn't been involved in WW II, he still had a kid who was not the MC's father and he never gets born.

He remains in that time period for a little more, trying to understand how he could still exist, but then decides to go back and stop himself from killing Hitler and revert everything back to normal. He goes back a few minutes before he appeared at the spot last time he jumped, but as he waits, his other self never appears. He is confused for a little while, but then leaves back to the future, and Hitler lives.

Again, the world is drastically different. None of the people alive at that point resemble anyone he knew, not even the world leaders. The only ones he is familiar with are those born before he goes back in time.

He panics, goes back again, trying to understand what has happened. During his quest, he finds out that time itself doesn't really exist and that the universe exists in frames, like those of a movie. But after each frame, a whole set of other frames can follow, each one different from the other but all of them possible within the physical laws of nature. The universe is like tree, starting as a single tree trunk at the moment of the big bang, and then branching out. And the timeline of the universe always follows a single branch, randomly selecting which branch it goes through next.

Because of the vast number of possibilities, the MC finds that each time he had timetraveled, he had reset that timeline, and thus even he hadn't changed a single thing, the universe would still end up vastly different from the one he knew. Certain large constructs like the United States and other nations would still exist, but the people that made up those nations would be an entirely different set from those on his timeline, except those born before the moment he appeared.

Then, the MC spends months trying to perfect the timetraveling technique so he can spawn on his own timeline and be reunited with his loving family. A lot happens in between, but in the end, he achieves something very close. He ends up in a very similar timeline to his own, but since the permutations are almost endless, it's still not exactly the one he knew. For all he knows, everything could be the same, but some molecule on a dust cloud a billion light years away could be a millimeter closer to earth.

Thus, his ownself still exists on that reality. In his desperation, he waits for when his own self is alone in his house, goes in, holds a gun against his head, and the book ends.

But I got stuck trying to explain the mechanics of timetravel itself (because it's impossible) and left it like that.

King Neptune
10-17-2014, 09:49 PM
This thread reminded me to go back to my time travel novel or series of short stories; I haven't decied which. I use the regular method of time travel; i.e., using variable probabilities to access parallel universes with the time dimension in a different direction, which eliminates any hint of contradiction. The main characters may not have wonderful forethought, but they get to redo things when necessary, so the plots are more comedic than tragic.
for more information see:
http://ucispace.lib.uci.edu/handle/10575/1302
http://ucispace.lib.uci.edu/handle/10575/1230
and other material at:
http://ucispace.lib.uci.edu/handle/10575/1060
and
Jeffrey A. Barrett (1999) The Quantum Mechanics of Minds and Worlds; Oxford University Press, Oxford (QC174.12 .B364 1999)

eqb
10-18-2014, 12:52 AM
My time travel book came out this week. It's about mathematics, murder, and time. Plus a taste of cocaine.

Mark Moore
10-18-2014, 07:25 AM
I have a first draft of a story involving time travel that I wrote in 2010. I'm trying to polish it up and self-publish it. It's not very heavily sci-fi, and the time-travel is a small part of the story, although it's (ahem) present in a lot of scenes. It's about a young woman in the 1980s whose father invents a time-dilation device. She wears it like a wrist watch and uses it to "fast-forward" through boring and/or unpleasant events. The main story deals with her romance, her eventual engagement and marriage, her relationships with her female friends, etc.. It's actually very sci-fi-lite. The time dilation is used to allow her to be a slow-aging protagonist that gets to experience many decades in a relatively short amount of time.

Christracy19
10-22-2014, 06:19 AM
I had the concept of time travel as more of a hitchhiking thing through rifts. The book turned out pretty well though it's been a few years since i touched it. (Became little too complex to deal with,)

cat_named_easter
10-22-2014, 03:08 PM
I developed an idea once.

It was about a scientist in his thirties who had discovered a way to use neutrinos as means of communication. That discovery made the internet much faster and cheaper since you could send information through the earth directly instead of sending it around through massive cables. As a result, he became very wealthy.

He also had a wife and a kid who he loved very much. Basically, he had the perfect life and as a scientist, he had all the money to toy with stuff. That's how he discoveries the possibility for time travel.

After some successful tests that set his doubts aside, he decides to try it. What does he do? The most cliche thing any time traveler could possibly do of course, go back and kill Hitler.

He does, and of course the world is changed drastically. He goes back to his timeline to see the changes, and although his grandfather hadn't been involved in WW-II, he still had a kid who was not the MC's father and he never gets born.

He remains in that time period for a little more before, trying to understand how he could still exist, but then decides to go back and stop himself from killing Hitler and revert everything back to normal. He goes back a few minutes before he appeared at a certain spot the last time, but as he waits, his other self never appears. He is confused for a little while, but then leaves back to the future, and Hitler lives.

Again, the world is drastically different. None of the people alive at that point resemble anyone he knew, not even the world leaders. The only ones he is familiar with are those born before he goes back in time.

He panics, goes back again, trying to understand what has happened. During his quest, he finds out that time itself doesn't really exist and that the universe exists in frames, like those of a movie. But after each frame, a whole set of other frames can follow, each one different from the other but all of them possible within the physical laws of nature. The universe is like tree, starting as a single tree trunk at the moment of the big bang, and then branching out. And the timeline of the universe always follows a single branch, randomly selecting which branch it goes through next.

Because of the vast number of possibilities, the MC finds that each time he had timetraveled, he had reset that timeline, and thus even he hadn't changed a single thing, the universe would still end up vastly different from the one he knew. Certain large constructs like the United States and other nations would still exist, but the people that made up those nations would be an entirely different set from those on his timeline, except those born before the moment he appeared.

Then, the MC spends months trying to perfect the timetraveling technique so he can spawn on his own timeline and be reunited with his loving family. A lot happens in between, but in the end, he achieves something very close. He ends up in a very similar timeline to his own, but since the permutations are almost endless, it's still not exactly the one he knew. For all he knows, everything could be the same, but some molecule on a dust cloud a billion light years away could be a millimeter closer to earth.

Thus, his ownself still exists on that reality. In his desperation, he waits for when his own self is alone in his house, goes in, and holds a gun against his head, and the book ends.

But I got stuck trying to explain the mechanics of timetravel itself (because it's impossible) and left it like that.

This is totally blowing my mind :O

Chromodynamic
10-22-2014, 05:10 PM
I'm glad you think it's a good idea! :)

But damn, for an aspiring writer, I do make a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. :D

PaulLev
10-22-2014, 09:11 PM
There's a lot of pseudo-science associated with time travel stories just like in movies they do many unrealistic things that are accepted as "real." People expect certain things and so those are given to them.

Bullets don't spark when the hit. There is no whoosh when a spaceship passes, nor is there a thrum of the engines. Tires don't screech on wet pavement, gravel or snow. Cranes don't collapse when too much weight is put on the cable (same goes for anchor winches). So on and so forth.

There is no "time line" with time travel. The paradox of time travel is always out there, waiting to bite you. But the biggest one that never gets addressed ... the planets move as does the solar system as does the galaxy. Where are you going to be, exactly, if you travel back or ahead even one minute?

With so much pseudo-science around time travel, I wouldn't worry too much about any of the big questions. Play with it and enjoy it. Remember this, though, time travel is the biggest deus ex machina ever invented, and always brings up the quetion, "If they can time travel, why don't they just ..." -- fill in the blank with an unexpected time travel solution to whatever problem you set up.

In answer to your last question, it's because paradoxes get in the way (as you correctly indicate in your paragraph before last).

As to the discrepancy of place, the assumption is that time travel entails a conservation of the space/time continuum, so when you travel back in time, the universe adjusts so you arrive in the same place. That's actually a far less extreme proposition that time travel itself.

leftyfelix2
10-22-2014, 11:04 PM
You can probably write a time travel many different ways. For me, I made a magic suitcase a time traveler by bringing two young girls into it to travel through time in which they weren't just a different year, but THEY were older! :) It was really cool because at the end, you discover elements about the suitcase where you understand why it works the way it does.