Welcome, and Time-Travel Notes

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Welcome
* Time-Travel Notes
* The Writing
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“Since I turned off the ‘I must publish’ button in my mind, I can write freely, without any reader or editor in mind. I can focus on the story and the characters and how their story really happens.” Jámbor Balázs



Welcome to William, and any other new subscribers or readers of the Journal. I hope you will find it useful.

Get the Archives and other free downloads at the Journal website. Just click the links and a PDF will download in a new page.

I also recommend reading the posts “I Believe in You” and “Fear”. Can’t hurt, and it might help.

Oh, and check out this half-hour video where bestselling author Vin Zandri and I are chatting about writing on The Writer’s Life.

Time Travel Notes

Just a few notes I’ve jotted down on Notepad since I’ve been writing time-travel stuff, especially the previous and current novel —

Please bear in mind that when I talk about time travel, I mean the physical manifestation of it: a character going to live physically in another time (and timeline). So not dreams or transcendental meditation or any of that.

I’m not saying any of that isn’t valid. I’m only saying that isn’t what I’m talking about when I talk about time travel.

Even if time travel ever does become possible, to avoid direct conflict with various parodoxes, the time travel itself will have to be more of a lateral move than a move backward into the direct past or forward into the at-this-moment-intended future.

As I wrote in a past article, “The time traveler could still visit the past or future, but only in a different timeline: they would visit amidst what might have happened if something else had happened to cause it. S/he won’t be able to travel within the same timeline, so s/he won’t be able to say or do anything that might affect his or her own past or future.”

The timeline factor is an important distiction for a fiction writer, and especially for a prolific one. Say you’ve written a story set in a small fishing village along the Pacific coast in 1950s Mexico.

If you later write another story in which a character time-travels to that same village in the same time (even the same minute, hour, or day) that character will be in a different timeline.

The past in that different timeline might be the same or it might be different, even including characters’ names. So you don’t necessarily have to remember or look-up character names, place names or descriptions, etc. You can Just Write.

But regardless of that, the future of that timeline will definitely be different. And that’s where the new story begins. Your character can literally go anywhere and do anything from that point forward, just as s/he or you can in real life.

Another mind experiment — If you (or your character) found a mode of time travel and actually traveled to the past, could you or s/he stay there indefinitely?

In my opinion (of course, all of this is my opinion) yes. The bigger question is whether you would want to. And of course, whether you would want to would depend on how many and which modern so-called conveniences you could do without.

I personally have always borne in mind that the only necessities are food, water, and shelter, so I would be fine. Everything else is one level or another of luxury.

Some of us who are dependent on various medicines might argue that we couldn’t stay in a timeline in which those medicines haven’t been invented.

But remember, it’s a different timeline. Would you even have the same maladies? If so, might there be a cure in that timeline? Of might you never have succumbed to the malady at all?

A different timeline is literally a different world. As a writer, you can change (or not change) whetever you want from the one we’re currently living in.

As with writing into the dark, the possibilities are endless. And of course, time travel isn’t possible anyway — or is it? So have fun with it.

The Writing

Missed my new word count goal yesterday (visiting with family). But thanks to making the goal on all but one of the other days, my average is still 4448 words per day through this novel. One more reason to set a daily word-count goal.

Sadly, I expect the novel to wrap today. I wonder what will come next. Which for me actually means I wonder which set of characters I’ll check-in with next. Maybe even the same ones. They’re already in a new timeline and stepping into a new future, so again, the possibilities are endless.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest


The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 800

Writing of Blackwell Ops 15: Solana Garcia

Day 1…… 3034 words. To date…… 3034
Day 2…… 4389 words. To date…… 7423
Day 3…… 4327 words. To date…… 11750
Day 4…… 4058 words. To date…… 15808
Day 5…… 6103 words. To date…… 21911
Day 6…… 4330 words. To date…… 26241
Day 7…… 4213 words. To date…… 30454
Day 8…… 6232 words. To date…… 36686
Day 9…… 3352 words. To date…… 40038

Fiction for December…………………… 46527
Fiction for 2023…………………………. 447361
Fiction since August 1………………… 332816
Nonfiction for December……………… 8760
Nonfiction for the year……………… 264340
Annual consumable words………… 708194

2023 Novels to Date……………………… 9
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 7
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 80
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 235
Short story collections…………………… 31

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Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

4 thoughts on “Welcome, and Time-Travel Notes”

  1. Speaking as a woman, while I *could* survive (thanks in part to knowing how to cook and sew), I would not want to live at any point in the past – WAY too much risk of sexual assault and/or other physical abuse. Give me modern protections on that score any day!

    • Works for me, though if I was in the mood I might ask *what* modern protections. Although I will readily admit if you call the cops they absolutely WILL be there within a half-hour or so. (grin) Anyway, FYI, I also know how to cook, sew, wash dishes, do laundry, etc. And so do my sons. And my daughters all knew how to shoot a revolver and a rifle, change a flat tire, clean sparkplugs, change the oil, etc. before they left home. I wanted them to choose other people based on their heart and head vs. need. 🙂

      • Modern protections – laws, for one. (And yes, I’m well aware that bad guys don’t care about laws.) And a civilization that believes women are people and have agency, as opposed to being a man’s chattel/property – that alone is a huge protection. (If you doubt that, look at how women are treated in other countries – suttee [yes, technically forbidden], “honor” killings, and the like.)

        • Of course I understand all of that. We could go back and forth all day on such thingss, but that would be a ridiculous waste of time because 1) I’m talking about time travel in fiction. As a fiction writer who teaches other fiction writers. On a blog about writing fiction. Besides, 2) if time travel were possible, whether or not to go would be your personal choice, not something some “toxically masculine” man forced on you, and 3) if you chose to go it would be into a different timeline, with a different history and different possible futures.

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