A to Z 2017: Time

My A-Z Blogging theme is to cover 26 touch-me-not categories of fiction writing. These are frequently the trouble spots which can be useful components of the story if handled properly, but when rushed through, can cause all kinds of trouble. While the genre is fantasy, the tips can apply to anything, from romance to literary fiction.


While exploring the ruins of an old castle, Mordekai and his sister Monique accidentally destroy an old tower only to find themselves in a different place, or time, entirely. Then a giant goat crashes through the wall and carries Mordekai off, leaving Monique with the unpredictable Princess Mural. After a variety of adventures, they’re reunited in the courtyard of the villains castle. 

T: Time

When he opened his eyes, he could hardly believe them. He wasn’t surrounded by goats…or with Mural anymore. Instead, he was in a park. The grounds were perfect, the tulips were up, and a soft wind was fluttering through the petals even as Annette came jogging down the path, her blonde ponytail swinging with every step.

This is when we first met! She’d dropped her music player and he’d retrieved it…and that had led to everything else. Maybe he’d been jolted back to the almost-present, with a chance to make things right. I could change what happens. Make it so…

He frowned. It was what he’d wanted. What he’d hoped for for months: a chance to make it so Annette never left him, to start it all over and be a better friend, a better whatever she needed. But he found he didn’t want it. And when Annette’s silverly electronic device slipped from her armband to come crashing against the ground, he didn’t move. Just watched as she kept jogging a few more paces, then turned around, scanned the dirt…and still he didn’t budge. If I don’t do anything, maybe I can go back. As nutty as everything was in Mural’s world, it was where he wanted to be. She needs my help and…I owe it to Brisbane. He smiled, knowing it was just an excuse. He knew where he belonged; he only hoped time would agree.

Messing around with time is usually the domain of science fiction, but the magic of fantasy can certainly make it part of your plot. If you do decide to play with the “big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff,” as the Doctor calls it, you need to keep these three considerations in mind.

  1. How integral is it to the plot? Readers have certain expectations about time travel and certain questions they may want answered (like how you prevent others from messing with the timeline to where you aren’t even born, your parents never meet, etc.). Unless you’re prepared to wade into some scientific and historic considerations of how x event affects y, you might want to skip the entire thing or make it an alternate-universe, vision-sort-of-thing rather than true time travel. If your story really needs it, though, by all means travel through time…just don’t do it lightly.
  2. How are you going to keep things straight? One timeline is confusing enough. Add two (or three or more) and things will get really complicated, but you still have to know who did what, when…even if the timeline is no longer a neat, linear thing.
  3. What restrictions are you imposing? As soon as time travel is included, you raise a host of questions: who can use it, how much can they do, where can they go, how often, etc. If anyone can do it, then they can mess around with the timeline to their hearts’ content…which can quickly turn into a story not worth reading. Who cares if you kill of a beloved character in chapter five when we know, in chapter six, they can come back through time travel…only to get killed again by counter time travel by the villain?

In the above section, no one triggers the time-travel. It just happens, in a Providential sort of way, and it may not truly be time-travel. It could just be a vision given while he’s knocked unconscious, and in that way, I don’t have to go into long explanations…which is good, as I’m still behind a few letters (my dog really did not need to eat butter during the challenge). TUV here I come!

Until the next letter,



Copyright 2017 Andrea Lundgren

Photo courtesy of gratisography

4 thoughts on “A to Z 2017: Time

  1. You’ve made some valid points about time travel. I’m using it in my next book, but I want the reader to wonder if the protagonist is time traveling, in another world, or delusional. Even I do not know the answer.


    1. Oh how interesting! Do you plan to leave it ambiguous, even at the end? I know some readers who couldn’t stand such an ending, but I’m sure others would find it fascinating. 🙂


  2. Eating butter? Sounds like something my dog with the very sensitive digestive system would do! So sorry. I hope things are getting back to normal for you — and your dog.


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