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.