Monday, April 25, 2011

Time Travel and Alternate Realities

Lately I've been spending a lot of time thinking about things that could be. These are mostly things for this current revision of Evangeline, but they occasionally extend to my real life.

Sometimes these decisions are small: Would I have beat all this traffic if I would have just left the house a few minutes earlier?

Others are large: Would we have enough for a down payment on a house now if we'd started saving earlier?

My characters make decisions, too, large and small, that have an effect on the outcome of the story. During this re-write, I'm trying to make my characters take a more active role in the plot. Because it's a time-travel story, it's as if they are creating an alternate history, erasing what used to be, and changing the space-time continuum. Yes, I am a dork. Do I need Doc Brown and a chalkboard timeline to demonstrate? ;)

It's all so clear now!

So, while you might think that rewriting from scratch is time-consuming, I'm actually finding it quite liberating to begin again, to simplify my plot-lines, eliminate the superfluous and focus on things like mood and tone and character development.

Even though I'm the one rewriting my novel, with the nature of the story it feels like my characters are the ones making all the changes, taking their destinies (or densities, whichever) into their own hands. Pretty deep, eh? So I'll leave you with a quote I think about sums up the way I'm approaching the rewrite. And life in general.

What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now.” – Unknown

Anyone else out there in revision hell? I'm making daiquiries!


Cynthia Lee said...

Yup. Most of the time I moan, groan and procrastinate but then when I actually sit myself down and make myself do it - I enjoy it.

And sometimes I'll fix a sentence that has always sorda bugged me or I'll realize that a paragraph has no business being in the story, etc., etc.

But I hate putting a WIP aside to revise because I don't want to lose momentum on it. That's the part that I really hate.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'm still in first draft of the third novel in three years. But I plan to totally rewrite the last one in a different time era. I'll drop by then for one of those daiquiries. I applaud you for not only doing it, but for jumping in heart and soul.

Abby Annis said...

Love the quote! And Doc Brown's explanation of their affect on the future is one of the few time travel explanations I've been able accept. Some others, despite their popularity, *cough*Terminator*cough* make no sense whatsoever.

And you know I'm with you on the rewrites. It's what I do. So glad you finally decided to join me. ;)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oooo, daiquiris! Count me in! I love that quote. :-)

Jade said...

Good luck!!!!

Jen Daiker said...

I am currently querying but I'm about to start revisions on my first novel I've ever written. I'm a nervous wreck.

So ask me next week and I'll tell you yes.

Girl Friday said...

I will take a dacquiri, or three. Even if it changes my density.

(Really love the quote btw :)

Krispy said...

That is a great quote. I love your attitude towards the revisions. :) Good luck!

Tere Kirkland said...

Cynthia, I totally agree with you on so many points. I was really loathe to put down my wip, Aether, because I was right in the middle where the crap was hitting the fan and I had to bring everything back together again.

But the way my revisions are going, I'm definitely enjoying writing the new stuff, and finding homes for the stuff I don't want to lose.

Tricia, thanks, and good luck drafting! I read a blog post or online article about setting stories in the past, I'll have to find it and send you a link.

Abby, I still haven't watched the last Terminator movie, for fear my head will explode with the paradoxes. Actually, I'm basing a new scene on one of your paradoxical observations of the time travel in Evangeline, so thanks!

Shannon, thanks! You should come visit here some time. We have drive-through daiquiri shops. It doesn't count as an open container until you put the straw in. ;)

Jade, thanks! I can't wait for you to read it!

Jen, I'd be a nervous wreck in that situation, too. My first novel was a nightmare, I'd have to more than start from scratch for that one. It needs a complete plot makeover. Good luck querying.

GF, thanks, I've been taking the quote to heart. Every moment is THE moment to change your density, if you take advantage of it. ;)

LOL, Krispy, if I don't stay optimistic, this revision might get the best of me. I don't want to lose focus, so I'm trying to stay positive. And I'm discovering a new love of my old characters, so it's a win/win.

Faith said...

I'm in revision hell too... I've been struggling with my first page for weeks. Can't get it JUST RIGHT the way I want it... but that's the revision process for you!

Julie Musil said...

I love that quote! And I think your approach the rewrite is great. I'm going through a rewrite now, and I'm humming along ok. Good luck with yours! Oh, and as for daiquiries, I'll take a strawberry :D

Rebecca Knight said...

"Do I need Doc Brown and a chalkboard timeline to demonstrate? ;)"

This made me laugh out loud. I'm pretty sure if Doc Brown could explain everything in life to me, I'd be all set.

And good luck with your revisions! I have faith in you, like Marty McFly in the Doc.

Kenda said...

Shifting from revision land to querying over here--and then brainstorming new WIP. I'll order a glass of red wine, thank you! Loved the quote. Thanks for the recent follow :-)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I think that was Doc Brown, making that quote! (kidding)

Revisions are cool when you can focus on one thing - in fact, most of the time I feel like I can only focus on one thing at a time (plot or voice or craft). But it pulls the story together in almost invisible ways for the reader.

Good luck!