Time Travel Thoughts

I’m currently in the Research & Development phase of my Work In Progress which reminds me of the character Conrad (Jason Bateman) in the movie The Longest Week:

Narrator: …At present, he was working on his magnum opus – a great New York novel in the tradition of Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton. It was widely speculated as to where he was in the process of writing it. When asked, he would simply reply…

Conrad Valmont: I’m in the gathering stages.

Narrator: Conrad had been in the “gathering stages”for several years now.

This seed has been around for several years as well, but for various reasons the time has come to push it to the front of the idea list. The idea includes a time travel/historical element and since that has been done before it is hard to make it not derivative. These concerns keep putting me off, and yet, I keep coming back to the drawing board.

The actual act of time travel requires many world building solutions to everyday questions: what’s so special about this character that s/t/he/y gets to travel through time, what is the time travelers purpose when s/t/he/y is in another time, why time travel and not just historical fiction, how does the time travel work, does it work only to a single specific time/multiple times/past & future, can the traveler go back & forth or forward & back at will, can the traveler determine the time before s/t/he/y go, how does the main character return? (I’ve been reading and watching a lot of time travel movies/shows.)

Here’s a quick list (to organize my thoughts) of how time travel tends to work in fiction.


  • Time Machine or device (Back to the Future, Bill & Ted, Annum Guard Series (YA), Into the Dim (YA series). This allows the character to go to different pre-set times/worlds unless something happens to the device. TARDIS.)
  • Geometric (tesseract ala A Wrinkle in Time)
  • Wormhole
  • Tachyon
  • Rip in universe
  • Hypnosis
  • Time ray (comics often villain has this)
  • Remote Control
  • Radiation
  • Alien assistance
  • Cryogenics
  • Gaseous fog
  • Weather or Earth event
  • Interaction with Future Traveler who has superior technology

Endowed Magical Object/Person:

  • Book (Magic Tree House series: Morgan Le Fay is “Time Librarian.” Inkheart series. Really world traveling but still.)
  • Fairies, Witches, Ghosts (Christmas Carol)
  • Guardian Angel (It’s a Wonderful Life)
  • Artifact in pieces (The Story of the Amulet)
  • Artifact (Time-Turner in Prisoner of Azkaban)
  • Artifact + magical words
  • TARDIS (Fits here as well because it looks like a regular police box. Note: I’m not a Dr. Who super-fan so don’t skewer me.)

Magical Portal:

  • Fog (The Fog of Forgetting)
  • Wardrobe (Narnia series)
  • Door (The Devil’s Arithmetic)
  • Gate
  • Large historical structure ie: Standing Stones (Outlander)


  • Genetic issue (Time Traveler’s Wife)
  • Heart attack
  • Blow to the head (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court)


  • Sleep (Rip Van Winkle)
  • Fainting (Peggy Sue Got Married)
  • Random flash of light, etc.

This list is not at all exhaustive and I’d love for others to chime in (in the comments) with their own thoughts and examples.

The Manuscript-a poem

The Manuscript
By Anna J. Boll

Two copies of my WIP
bounce and zip
through Manhattan island
postal machines  
to my agent

This closure
brings lightness.
Removing work.
Cleaning the desk.
Sending it away.
But then you wait.

Waiting is not light
or heavy
but  a spasm,
a knot
twisting your gut
whenever you remember
the WIP
is out of your control.

Perhaps some one is reading it,
or it is in the  to- be- read pile,
or it is in a tote bag
hauled back and forth
on the subway
(are the clean pages now crumpled and coffee stained?),
or maybe
(God forbid)
they didn’t want it in the first place. 

The good thing about waiting
is that it is not yet,


A List. Why not?

1. The kids were home last Tuesday for Veterans’ Day, and then Thursday and Friday sick. It was hard to get anything done

2. I was so happy to get some Mom and Dad time this weekend and they were happy to see the kids. There was much leaf raking and jumping.

3.. My mom, a long time journalist, editor and public relations guru, is always my first editor so I was pretty darn pleased with her positive reaction after reading my novel through this weekend. I’m ready for my own read through and revisions now. 

4. Sunday, I slept all day long as I got the same virus the kids had. 

5. Hubby away to Las Vegas for the week. "A little less conversation, a little more action…" He said he wouldn’t do any of the fun stuff without me even though I told him he could. Isn’t he sweet?

6. This list is not very insightful but it is easy to read.

Jacob- First Full Draft Complete

 I am so happy to report that I have completed the first full draft of my novel. At 107 pages, it seems a little short, but I feel as if I told the story that needed to be told. I’m sure there is plenty to be fleshed out in the second draft but I can’t even think about that yet. First a little happy dance… then some caring for my two sick kids. I’ll read it to the family over the next couple of days and then start to make changes. First readers, get ready.

 There comes  a point in my WIP where I am almost done and then I decide that I suck. I cannot write. I shouldn’t be writing and the thought of writing one more word will be pointless. No more pointless, might I say, then pilfering my child’s Halloween candy, checking election news for some infamous gaffe, checking my email every 2 seconds, walking around my house aimlessly, starting and stopping various projects…. ARGH I cannot focus today but this is the day that I put aside for novel writing. I hate it when the schedule doesn’t work. How did it get to be 1:30. I’ve been up for so long and feel that I’ve done nothing. Some one please give me a good cyber- kick in the pants. 


Sometimes my webwanderings and research for my ballet book link up with my webwanderings as a conference director. That’s how I came upon Mark Siegel’s blog posting on First Second Books blog. This is a great posting about character development. Short sweet and visual. Mark Siegel is the illustrator for the graphic novel To Dance, with the subtitle A Ballerina’s Story (Simon & Schuster/Atheneum) written by his wife Siena who danced at School of American Ballet with Balanchine.  The connection is that I’m trying to pull together a group of graphic novel folks for an Illustration Academy at the 2009 conference. For info on this year’s Illustration Academy, keep your eyes on the mailbox and at NESCBWI for the conference brochure. It will be posted and mailed in Mid-February.

In other news…
1. I got a digital voice recorder for my interviews in New York. My kids want to record burps and other such bodily functions, so I’ve had to hide the recorder.
2. My lovely writing partner gave me feedback on my first chapter yesterday. I had high hopes that she would look at it and say, “Oh this is perfect don’t change a thing.” I’m glad she didn’t. The revision is a million times better.
3. We got a storm of “wintery mix” here last night and my driveway is like a skating rink. Only down hill. Eek.
4. Balanced the check book yesterday.
5. Printing images for the portfolio today.


Hello. I should totally be writing as I had an extremely successful writing day on Tuesday and this is my other big chunk ‘o time day. But as usual, interesting cyber stuff keeps creeping into my time. (Often thanks to the NESCBWI listserve.) Today it is Mitali Perkins and her amazingly original marketing/political blog written by her fictional main character, Sparrow, who is reporting from a teen’s point of view on the 2008 elections. I am a constant supporter of anyway we can enfranchise young people. Register and Rock the Vote! Go Mitali.

Cyber interruptions, beautiful sunny Maine day… I will get chapter three written. I will, I will.

It’s late…

…and I’m happy to say that I finished my revisions on my dummy book. Not without incident of course. Today I hired a sitter to allow me to get this work done. I had just completed a redraw of a spread (which included a number of drawings on a single page) was about to save and DARK. The high winds blew over a tree which landed on an electric line and there went my work and my reason for the babysitter. The problems of digital work. Well, I decided it was still light enough to read by the window and finished reading The Penderwicks. Totally worth the 15 bucks I paid for the sitter. I also got in a nap so had no problem staying up late to finish the work tonight. Barring more outages, I’ll print tomorrow (so I don’t wake anyone) and send it off to Val the fabulous crit registrar. Then I can start memorizing my new aerobics choreography.