Where You End is Not Where You Begin – Time Travel in Movies

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I just finished watching The Edge of Tomorrow – Live.Die.Repeat last night and I found it to be very good (It would earn a B+) for its Sci-Fi Action elements.  It’s not my favorite Tom Cruise Sci-Fi (that would currently have to go to Minority Report), but it is fun nonetheless.

Now, no spoilers, but this movie is part of the “repeating day” genre popularized by Groundhog Day (starring Bill Murray).  There have been several of these repeating day/repeating time/”timeslide” movies in the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genre.  While they’ve mostly been enjoyable, they always seem to mess up the resolution of the story.

Again, without spoiling anything, at the end you’ll find that the main character goes through the classic character arc, but (ultimately) the female lead’s arc is cut short by the time travel that takes place.  For me, this was a bit unsatisfying (and why I wouldn’t give the movie an “A”).

Deja Vu

Deja Vu (starring Denzel Washington) had the same problem, but in its case, it was the female lead who went through the arc and it was the main character whose arc was cut short.

In both cases, neither of the two characters were the fully realized characters at the end of the movie as they were portrayed throughout their struggle in the movie.  And each seems slightly unsatisfying at the end of the movie (even though Deja Vu has one of the most innovative car chase sequences that I’ve ever seen.)

And these are two of the best movies–there are others that are not nearly as effective, such as:

Prince of Persia nextSource Code

Prince of Persia, Next, and Source Code failed to find amazing theatrical success, I would argue, because of the problem of the nature of the “timeslide” and that audiences found the movies’ ending unsatisfying in the extreme.  I know I did–they almost had that “it was all a dream/dream sequence” element to them.

I’ve learned 2 things about writing my own Time Travel stories from watching these movies:
1) Main character and secondary characters MUST change from their experiences DURING the “Timeslide.”
2) Somehow, they need to RETAIN what they’ve learned and MUST understand how the “Timeslide” affected them in order for the ending to be completely satisfying.

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Currently (Re) Reading: The Malloreon by David Eddings

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I’m currently re-reading the Malloreon by David Eddings.  I prefer the Belgariad by him, but I read that last semester.  I really enjoy this series–I think it is because of the banter between the characters.

My family had banter (although not to this degree) when I was growing up–and devices like puns, quoting from movies,  etc., was highly prized and rewarded.  Being able to be mentally adroit and using advanced wordplay to cause laughter and humor was something that our family did really well.  This is the closest book in the fantasy genre that seems to truly encapsulate the “Star Wars” (original trilogy) for me as a reader.  It seems as though I’m chuckling at a clever turn of a phrase or the many uses of sarcasm and irony (including dramatic irony) on every other page.

I reread all of my favorite novels (even more so since rise of the “Grim Dark” writers of fantasy like George RR Martin–don’t get me wrong–not hating on the author, just the whole nasty people doing nasty things to one another doesn’t appeal to me NO MATTER the genre).  This series is one that I have pulled out and reread yearly for the past 5 years straight.   I sometimes reread the TAMULI series (also by Eddings), but mostly its the BELGARIAD and MALLOREON.  I wish more authors would write in this mode, but I guess it is passe’ now.

I can’t WAIT for the whole “Grim Dark” trend to go away so that more books like this can be published.

Sigh.  I really could use some more banter (read: laughter) in my life right now.

Author’s Note: HAWKEMOON

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Well, it’s been a long, hard, road (much longer than it should have been–more on that a little later), but I finally FINISHED my short-story entitled, HAWKEMOON!  It needs a little more revision before I’m ready to send it out to markets, but the hard work of creation is done–now it is all about refinement and evolution.  In college, I took a Creative Non-Fiction course where we wrote an “Author’s Note” about the creative influences, hopes, and goals for our work after we finished a draft (sort of like a “Postmortem” from video games, TV, and Movies).  In the same spirit, that’s what this blog entry is about.  So without further ado:

AUTHOR’S NOTE–HAWKEMOON
HawkeMoon started out as a concept that I had in response to a Call for Submissions for two anthologies that Rhonda Parrish (the Editor of Fae who bought my story, “Faerie Knight”) was doing last year.  The anthologies, Corvidae and Scarecrow were to have stories of Corvids (birds like crows, ravens, etc.) and Scarecrows in them.

The story came together from a note that I’d made to myself about a “Hawk King and Raven Queen.”  I was going to use this idea to submit to her anthologies.  Originally, the story was to be two linked stories–one dealing with the two main characters, the Hawk King and the Raven Queen.  In the second story, those two characters were going to have to deal with an on-coming evil, a darkness consisting of a King of the Scarecrows.

Then, school started.  To say this year has been more challenging than last would be an understatement.  I was not able to get any traction on the story at all.  I tried one aborted attempt at it fairly close to the submission deadline, but the tone and the characters were all wrong.  In the draft that didn’t work, I’d made them brother and sister, but those two had a banter and playfulness that didn’t match the grimmer story that I had in my head (FULL DISCLOSURE: I actually liked those two and may reuse them in another story at a later date, but they just didn’t work for this one).  In my head, these two didn’t know each other and had to discover more about the other.

So the project went on ice and seemed destined not to get written in the way I wanted.  That was until the 1st expansion for Destiny came out–The Dark Below.  In it, their main character was an agent who had infiltrated the Hive named Eris Morn.  She had three items in her inventory that players could work for called: Predawne, Middaye, and Sunsetting.

BOOM!  Somehow, my mind clicked and the story came together.  It would take place in one day.  Predawne would be the beginning and focus on the Hawke, Middaye would focus on Moon, and in Sunsetting, they would have to find a way to stop an evil or die a horrible death.  I even added an epilogue of sorts called Morn to finish out the “day.”

So, I’ve been writing it since about the last of December/first of January.  I was on track for my normal 3-4 months writing cycle when I heard an episode of about making a living as a writer on the Wisconsin Public Radio show “To the Best of Our Knowledge.” I’ll have a LOT more to say about that episode in another blog post, but in it, it talked about ways of making it a full time writer.  I realized that I’m taking too long for short-stories based on their rate of return.  So I challenged myself a goal of a short-story a month (writing on weekends).  I normally write about 4-5 scenes in the story and if I can write a scene or two a weekend, I can do it.  So I challenged myself to finish HawkeMoon by the end of Feb.  and I finished it Feb. 28.

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The title is an amalgamation of the two characters names Hawke and Moon joined together.  It is also a play on a powerful hand cannon found in the game Destiny (Hawkmoon) that I’ve yet to acquire (gun drops in that game are mostly random and while I’ve been lucky with other rare items, I’ve not manage to acquire this one, so the title is also a bit ironic as well.)  🙂

I’ve already picked out a market that I want to send HawkeMoon to first.  As the deadline for Far Orbit is at the end of this month (3/31), chances are good that I’m going to let HawkeMoon lie fallow for the month and pick it up for revision with (hopefully) fresh eyes in April.  With any luck, I’ll send it out to its 1st market by Tax Day (April 15), but you never know.

So that is a little peek behind the creation of my story HawkeMoon.

ROUTER UPDATE–Router stable, wifi unstable (up Friday & most of Sat., down today–Sunday)
STORY UPDATE–HawkeMoon FINISHED! (yay!).  Upcoming–Rocket-Man revision for submission to Far Orbit Anthology Call for Submissions.