Original Ideas

When I made my little joking reference to Lost in the launch post on Friday, I hadn’t actually watched the most recent episode that had aired the night before.  (We time shift and are usually a couple days behind.)  So when I got around to watching it on launch night, I was surprised to see that it was such a heavy time travel episode. I was especially floored by one scene in particular, where two time traveling characters are screaming while a doctor asks questions and gives one of them an injection.  It seemed a little familiar…

Upon starting Timely Persuasion almost 5 years ago, I wanted to do some non-traditional things with the story and especially the genre.  I’ve loved time travel for as long as I can remember, but I’ll be the first to admit it gets a little cliched from time to time.  Not wanting to fall into that, I tried to alternate between paying tribute to my favorites while adding a new spin. This gave me the energy and drive I needed to get through the first draft in 6 weeks, then repeatedly gave me heart palpitations for the next several years when time to work on the book was non-existent and other stories kept stealing my thunder.

Below are some examples; I’ll try to be somewhat vague since I know most of you haven’t actually had time to receive your copy and read it as of yet.

  • In the film The Butterfly Effect, the protagonist time travels just by thinking about it and willing himself back there, which is something I’d never seen before. He also uses a diary as an impetus for these thoughts, which was something I considered before abandoning it early on.
  • Hiro Nakamura from the television series Heroes is another one able to will himself back in time via thought, though not quite as accurately as he would like. He also had an encounter with his future self, formerly a big time travel no-no.
  • Dan Vasser from the short lived series Journeyman also had a familiar self encounter where he gets into a knockdown-dragout fistfight with his past self. He also inadvertently changed his son into a daughter due to the butterfly effect of one of his time trips.
  • On Lost, not only did Desmond have his flashes last week, he also took possession of his past body in an episode during season 3.
  • Scariest of all was the original trailer for the Denzel Washington film Deja Vu. It had me in a panic that I’d have to heavily revise or even scrap TP altogether based on what I thought the underlying premise of the film was going to be. That fear proved unfounded when the actual film turned out to be nothing like the trailer was hinting at. (Random aside: I know I’m in a minority, but I really liked Deja Vu. More on that another time…)

On the other hand I still haven’t found a time traveler who has to adhere to laws of physics quite like my narrator, though I openly admit that some of these rules were inspired by Al the Hologram from Quantum Leap. I’ve always thought he had the sweetest time travel deal of any character ever created (all the glory and none of the danger), though they never really explored or even addressed that on the show.

Don’t misinterpret the above thoughts. I’m not bitter, and I don’t feel slighted or robbed or that I should go out and make a stink and sue over stolen ideas. It’s just not in me, and besides copyright law doesn’t really allow for it. I guess it just goes to show that given the same concepts and ingredients any idea is obtainable. It’s just a matter of how your mind works, how you assemble them, and what you use to get there.

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