So for the last six weeks or so, I have been writing and rewriting the “big reveal” scene in East of Yesterday, trying to nail down the basics of time travel.
(Yeah, so the book is almost done, and I still had not figured out the rules of time travel. But in many ways, the story shaped the rules.)
I wrote an exhaustive scene that walked through all the whys and wherefores. Even as I was getting through it, I knew it was a bit much to expect the reader to absorb, but I kept going because I knew I could always cut. I finished it up, went to the point at the end of the story where I left off, and realized that what I just wrote would not work with what I already had. Did I want to change the story? No. It is all plotted, and I like it, and it works, story-wise.
So I threw out the Big Reveal scene (3000 words) and wrote a much shorter scene that left most everything in the dark, and gave a few kernels of info to the reader, and let my story stand. And I was happy. This was much better. I thought I was done.
On the way to work the other day (I probably better never give up the idea of going to work, because these epiphanies during morning or evening drives have happened more often than I can recall), I had a marvelous idea. It was one of those “Aaaah. Now that works!” moments.
So I wrote it all into my wiki today. And I realized that this is no longer fantasy-based time-travel. It’s science fiction. Everything I base it on comes from science–except just a couple things.
One fantasy element–a mental power–is about as fantasy-like as a Vulcan mind-meld. It is certainly not as fantastic as the Force. And not as powerful as the dragon time-jumps in Dragonriders of Pern.
The other fantasy element is the supposed temporal qualities of silver. I used silver because (1) the pure silver content in sterling silver jewelry is quite high and (2) because silver does have a legendary history as an esoteric metal, which I used slightly.
The scientific elements that I had to research came from the Periodic Table of the Elements, the stellar history of planetary ores, alloys vs. pure elemental metals, the Chronoception sense, also known as our perception of the passage of time, and (lightly) time as a fourth dimension.
So two fantasy elements vs. five science elements.
I’m still calling it a time travel historical, but I feel happier about this because I always thought of time travel as a geeky science fiction thing, and now the story comes closer to what I intended.
So, now to rewrite that scene for the fourth time. And then to get on with the ending.