Saturday 16 March 2013


Okay, I'm putting this one out there. Sort of.

This is a big deal for me. My "Time Trippers" story is why I became a writer. (Or why I write, depending on how you perceive being a "writer".) I'm going to explain the backstory in this post, for a couple reasons...
1) I'm hoping for others to tell me if I should be doing something with what I have, and/or if it's worth continuing.
2) I'm hoping it demonstrates to people that even if you're not churning out a book per year, don't give up, every little bit adds to the puzzle.
3) I'm hoping, as always, it offers me some personal insight, because, y'know, all about blogging to better oneself.

It's a time travel story. I started it before time travel was cool.



I do not recall when the concept of time travel first hooked me. I do recall, in middle school, writing a story about a scientist who discovers time travel, going first into the past and then the future. I typed it, printed it, illustrated it and everything. (I still have it... somewhere.) This was a few years after the first "Back to the Future" had come out, though I hadn't been aware of the movie at the time.

By the way, Taylor's Polynomials will have a time travel arc. Wait for it.

The idea for "Time Trippers" itself first came about at some point in high school. It began with a single image... that of a girl named Carrie (then a brunette) arriving in her own past, badly hurt after a time travel incident, and needing to be cared for by her past self. I think I sketched it? At the very least, I wrote a bit... but I did a lot of scribbles at that time in my life, so think it's been lost.

Fast forward to third year university; I'd started doing some fanfiction writing, and decided to tackle this story that had been rattling around in my head for nine years. Babylon 5 had recently wrapped up, and I was watching Buffy at the time, so of course I pictured it as a 5 season arc, with every entry having 22 episodes. Ergo, 110 in total.

Not at all ambitious.


Fun fact, have never really been fond of the name, always thought I'd change it, never have. So when you're writing, you'll probably want to pick a name you can live with at the outset. (Same thing happened to characters when I was Chief Scriptwriter for FASS.)

I started writing it in earnest in 1999, setting the story in the year 2001. Needless to say, it lapped me - but not by much. I had 22 episodes (and a complete and self-contained season 1) completed by Summer 2002, denoted "Coming Together". And because I suspect I have a mild Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, all parts were of exactly equal length as typed into WordPerfect 5.1

Yeah, all 40 kB. I have blogged previously about How I Write, in the context of JulNoWriMo. Suffice to say, I jump from key incident to key incident, and have the characters tell me how each one affects them. I often don't know quite how the climax will play out, as the group dynamics will have fluctuated by then.

You'd think my extremely linear mindset would be a problem in a time travel story, but surprisingly not. Just had to keep my Timeline file handy and updated. I also sketched the characters, wrote a pilot episode before it actually fit into the chronology, and devised an Opening Sequence... eerily enough, the OP for the Shuffle anime game (that came out later) fits almost perfectly, right down to the use of arrows. Just substitute my characters.

Not at all obsessed.


This one started in July 2002, with a new Opening Title Sequence... that the OP for the Shuffle game sequel "Tick! Tack!" fits almost perfectly. (Do you satisfy with your future?) It's like they were reading my mind from three years in the future, which wigs me out a bit if I think too hard.

This season took longer. For context, I'd started teaching in September of 2001 at a private school, went back to get my teaching degree in September of 2002, moved to Ottawa in September of 2003, and then spent three years bouncing around from school to school before landing a public school contract.

I wrote Eps 23-26 in 2002, Eps 27-31 in 2003, Eps 32-35 in 2004, Ep 36 was finished in Oct 2005, Eps 37-38 in Oct 2006, Ep 39 in March 2008... and then in the Blitz of 2009 I finished the last 5 episodes during the month of August (and early September).

Another self contained season, denoted "Powering Up", wrapping up all the small points. Leaving my characters in 2002, seven years in the PAST. Where they were kind of stuck, as there was a plot point about them jumping the century mark... and another about a main character not having a cell phone... and I wasn't finding time for writing anymore.

Decided that the later three seasons weren't going to happen. I couldn't remember what I'd wanted to do in season four anyway.

Not at all disappointing.


The catalyst was Harper-Voyager saying they'd accept non-agent submissions last October 2012. I thought, what the hell. Let's see if I can update my time travel "baby" to fit with the times, and simultaneously not use any hard dates. It wasn't really as difficult as I'd thought. Episodes simply became Chapters, "1999" became "two years ago", and some explanations were tweaked. Of course, THE THING IS 300 PAGES. AROUND 300,000 WORDS.

So I chopped Season 1 down into two separate books, "Awareness" (which I submitted) and "Escalation" (which I just finished final edits on this week). The questions are now:
1) Do I bother to try the same trick with Season 2.
2) Do I actually try writing Season 3, based on my notes. (Setting would shift from High School to University.)

Which basically boils down to the question of would anyone read it. Seeing as:
1) Time Travel is being overdone these days
2) My plots take a while to get going, and this one in particular is temporally... weird.
3) I'm already working on a web series story, Taylor's Polynomials, which itself doesn't have many readers.


Okay, you're still reading the post at least, good sign. Thing is, "Time Trippers" is kind of hard to describe. (Scott, my main beta reader, what would YOU say?) You almost have to read it yourself to know... but I'm not about to post the entire thing on my blog.

I will post part of the first Chapter tomorrow.

If that's not enough, regarding the rest, here's the synopsis I used when I sent it off:
"The mysterious arrival of a time machine into a small town acts as a catalyst for a group of high school students.  It brings to the forefront a number of issues, chief among them how Carrie (the girl who discovered it) was affected by the disappearance of her mother, the numerous difficulties involved in the taking of time trips as raised by her unlikely companion Frank, and the disturbingly obsessive actions of her best friend Julie.  As the story progresses, centered almost entirely upon a set of teenagers at the school, friends and enemies begin to turn up in the unlikeliest of places, which results in new allegiances and more questions than there are answers."

It's... kind of Young Adult? Except I wrote it before that was even a thing. And one of the characters attempts suicide by going back to prevent their own birth, which, euh, I work with teenagers, I'm not sure that's the sort of thing to be including. It's also kind of a dystopia, except that's in the future where the time machine originates, so we only get snatches of it.

Suffice to say, it's complicated. Comment if you think it shows any merit. Email me if you want more.

(Oh yeah, and those are the main characters you've been scrolling past all this time. At least my drawing ability now is better than it was ten years ago...)


  1. My best take on the story? It's a Young Adult science fiction story that uses time travel to tell the story of how the characters learn to interact with each other despite their backgrounds and problems. I'm not as concerned by the suicide attempt; there's no way anyone could imitate it, for one. It is a complex storyline that does require paying attention, but that's good everywhere except for TV. It does make much more sense to read it; again, it's that sort of story where describing it just scratches the surface.

    Fortunately, these days, Young Adult is wide open, away from any one particular marketing scheme. (At least for now.) You have far more room to maneuver and you have a good feel for how the characters behave at their ages.

    1. Thanks for chiming in, I was at a bit of a loss. What I find HILARIOUS is how you say the one place it wouldn't fit, television, is the one that I actually wrote it for. (Though I wager it wouldn't work as a stage play either.) You're not wrong either. No idea where it would fit on a ratings scale.

      It's also a serial. I write serials. Now I write blog posts about serials. Go fig.

    2. It might work for a cable station, one that doesn't worry about how the audience's parents will react. There's also a web video series. Ratings, it's an odd duck, and probably better off on a youth HBO.

      Not only do you blog posts about serials, you blog serials about serials. :)