What a strange trip this whole writing thing is…
I’ve always enjoyed science fiction – as a reader, I should say, but trying to write a story years ago left me feeling ambivalent about the whole thing (The Man From God Only Knows), like the experience was kind of enjoyable even if I really didn’t know what the devil I was up to. Sometimes about all a novice can do is emulate other authors’ styles and structures, but that’s not really what I’m about at this point in my life. I struggled to make the story fit in the Literotica universe, and it shows. So…I approached writing sic-fi again with a sense of foreboding.
But I take a lot of emotional cues from music, my own and others, if only because there’s a universal emotional structure in music that’s simply extraordinary. (If we play something that sounds ominous to a group of people in Toledo, odds are another group, even in Timbuktu, will find it equally ominous.) Longing, searching, a sense of yearning, feelings of betrayal, or the opposite, feelings of union and of coming together…these and so many more are easily revealed in the emotions released by music. (And speaking of…have you listened to Sia’s composition for the motion picture Fifty Shades of Grey. The piece, Salted Wound, is about as evocative as any I’ve listened to recently, and it’s been a big part of the music of behind TimeShadow.) Anyway, back to music.
I disappear when I write, and my pup sits beside me…waiting for the next trip out to throw a stick. The headphones go on, the screen sits there waiting and away we go, off into the void. But music is somehow a constant. These days I’m off down memory lane more often than not, so I’ll build a playlist and that (perhaps unconsciously) becomes a part of the process of writing.
And I love outlines, don’t you? I love how she sits there patiently, waiting to be referenced, and how she doesn’t get angry when I ignore her, or when I run across an idea I like better and end up trampling all over her. That’s TimeShadow, in a nutshell, by the way.
The story is evolving faster than I can keep up with. A piece about the permeability of Time in Quanta Magazine and it was “Right! Off we go…!” Something about Time’s Arrow vs the quantum flow of time, T invariance and how time can, on the subatomic level, anyway, flow in all sorts of directions other than along Time’s Arrow… The last time I studied physics (back in the sixties, when discussions about such things were still in their infancy) we lived strictly within a Newtonian frame of reference. That world still exists (not sure I’d like to drive over a bridge designed by a Quantum Mechanical Engineer just yet), but our understanding of things morph along day after day.
Scout at Laffingstock Manor last summer
So, the story, or stories. I started TimeShadow on Christmas Eve, just a few hours after Scout, my companion these last fourteen years passed away. Something about losing her, I suppose, felt like a gut punch, something about wanting to relive some of the good times – one more time – and there I was in the living room with an article about Time sitting in my hands. Well, every picture tells a story, just as surely as every story is a series of pictures, and I was looking at pictures of her, looking at the Christmas tree, her stocking full of treats that would never be eaten. I started writing, like I always seem to do when death is lurking around.
Then in the middle of that conjecture came Roundabout, an outgrowth of Second Comings. Inversions, more inversions. Stories where things aren’t quite what they seem, where the actors are inverted in some way. Second Comings, with it’s transexual heroine (the ultimate inversion?), and then the truly dreadful monster who enters the drama as a conventional heroine. Roundabout, where Aaron drifts along between women – who control all the action – led to NightSide, where again women are the primary drivers of the plot.
But the third part of sub-story in NightSide, the Eve storyline, seemed to me not only a continuation of the ‘inversions’ storylines I’ve been playing with lately, but could provide an interesting prequel to TimeShadow, and I’ve been lost in the possibilities ever since. Rewrites, more rewrites, lost in time, lost in Dana Goodman’s story. When she reappears on the bridge, as an infant, in a blue sphere? Well, there’s the first visible link to TimeShadow…
So, I’ll end up with a comment about outlines. Useful? Yes. I couldn’t see my way through without some sort of framework, but I always work with a pencil, one with a real fresh eraser! So, that’s where things stand with TimeShadow and NightSide right now. I’ve consolidated the two stories, am tweaking the plot lines. NightSide will form the nucleus of TimeShadow’s backstory, and will in the end inform the conclusion, the coda, if you will.
And the story will make it’s way in final form onto Radish, an iOS app, which will (I hope) make these stories a little more accessible – and portable – to a larger audience.