I, the Mad Time God, look upon the timeline before me. Something is not right. At first, I cannot name the problem. Then revelation shines upon me. A wave of my hand summons a mortal into my presence. Let’s call her Petunia.
Petunia: Um, hello?
Mad Time God (that’s me): Ah yes, Petunia, so good to see you. How’s the husband?
P: He’s —
MTG (not looking up from laptop): Good, great, super. Listen, I’m going to make you a platypus, okay?
MTG: Platypus. Egg-laying mammal, lives in Australia. Don’t worry, I won’t make you live there. But the platypus thing is firm.
P: I’m okay staying human, thanks. (looking around for an exit)
MTG: Oh, that’s so cute. You act like you’ve always been human. Trust me, you’ll love the change. Really fleshes out your character arc.
P: But what about my husband?
MTG: No, he can’t be a platypus, that makes no sense whatsoever. (taps chin) I might be persuaded to make him an echidna, for the right price…
P: No, I’m saying I don’t think he wants a platypus for a wife.
MTG: Isn’t that the point? I’m not supposed to make it easy for you mortals, right?
P: Well, you could if you wanted.
MTG: NO. NOT FUN. NOT INTERESTING. (slams laptop closed) Now go get ready for platypusification. (waves hand, Petunia vanishes)
Some time passes. Looking at the timeline, frowning, still perturbed. Again I wave my hand, and again Petunia is beside me.
MTG: Changed my mind.
P: (looking relieved) Oh, good. I wasn’t looking forward to being a platypus.
MTG: Hmm? Oh, no, that’s still going forward. Tested well in focus groups. Can’t disappoint. No, I’m just altering the beginning of your story. Here’s a copy for you, and one for your hubby. (hands over two paperclipped packets)
P: (reading through the packet) You can’t be serious.
MTG: I’m rarely serious.
P: I mean you can’t really be considering —
MTG: I’m not considering anything. It’s done.
P: But — but — this changes the story entirely!
MTG: Yes? So?
P: All those scenes lost. Motivations changed. New settings. What happened to the climax?
MTG: Misplaced it. I’m sure it will turn up eventually.
P: I can’t allow this to —
MTG: Silly platypus, you have no free will! Now off with you. I have to brush my teeth and it creeps me out when people watch. (wave of the hand, Petunia vanishes, etc.) Wait, that’s not true. I love it when people watch me brush my teeth. Washing my feet, that’s what I was thinking of. Oh well. I’ll do it solo this once.
# # #
Just a little dramatization of my editing process for my latest story. Identities changes to protect the innocent.
I didn’t actually turn a character into a platypus, but I did change a fundamental part of her during the first draft, completely changing the story and, in fact, making it weirder. Well, maybe. It depends on your definition.
Changing the beginning of the story, now that part is true. It has created an entirely new timeline. Now, many of the events remain unchanged or only slightly modified, but others have more dramatic differences. The climax of the story isn’t different, but the lead-up to it, the motivations, have changed. And all it took was one tweak, one event changed, to start the domino effect.
It made more work for me, but I hope it is worth it. Really started editing today after several days of planning and re-planning. Hope to have the second draft done by Friday.
*coughs and waves away smoke*
Time machines are hard work, you guys. The chrono-matrix is too damn delicate. I just can’t get it to balance.
Crap-packets! *kicks things*
Why do I need a time machine? Why, to find the time to write, of course! Time is the one resource I cherish above all others, and, of course, it is a resource I cannot renew. Unless I get this piston-licking time machine to stop breaking down. Man, this is what I get for buying generic parts. When you buy a brand name, you buy a reputation for excellence.
Since I rekindled my creative interests, almost every hard-won moment has gone towards writing. However, it is still not enough. I need more, more, more. So, in between my attempts to transcend linear time, I’ve analyzed the opportunities in my routine to find where I might wring out more time for my writing, like a sweet juice made from the rarest deep-sea fish. Mmm, time is salty and bioluminescent.
Here’s the list, with pros and cons.
PRO: Palpable aura will keep people away, limiting distractions.
CON: Beard may achieve sentience, given enough time and exposure to dangerous levels of funk. Could become adversarial.
Blending all meals and drinking them as nutritious shakes
PRO: Don’t have to wait until the end for dessert.
CON: The blender will drown out the screams that usually go with my meal preparation. Oh, the screams.
Not changing clothes
PRO: The crust that forms will eventually become hard enough to serve as armor, defending me against assassination attempts by rival writers.
CON: Shirt designs will fade with time. How will people know about my fandom of Go-Bots if it’s not right there on my chest?
Eschewing clothing entirely
PRO: Gives the whole world what it’s been asking for all these years.
CON: The map tattoo on my *REDACTED* would be visible to all, and the treasure it leads to would be in danger.
Faking my own kidnapping
PRO: Could end up on news. Free publicity!
CON: Initial investment for magazines to cut out letters for ransom note. Too rich for my blood.
Micro-naps throughout the day (by blinking slightly longer) instead of sleeping all in one go
PRO: The night terrors will be much shorter now.
CON: Will have to cut up the sleeping pills into very, very small portions.
Hiring a proxy to handle conversations for me
PRO: Could probably find someone more personable (though not handsomer) than me.
CON: Trial run with hand puppet yielded unfavorable results and a lifetime ban from TGI Friday’s. Uncertain if flesh puppet (as I would call the proxy) would be an improvement.
Constructing a robot to go to work for me
PRO: Having a synthetic son could earn me some sort of amnesty when Skynet goes online.
CON: Robot might do my job better than me, wounding my soft, squishy ego.
Cutting down on unnecessary internet time
PRO: There are no pros.
CON: It is all cons.