Jesse & Jonathan go over some basic tips & tricks for writing time travel that are always applicable. No matter how time travel works in your stories, keep these rules in mind, or your narrative will suffer.
- BE CONSISTENT - No matter what the rules of time travel are in your fiction, you have to know them, and you have to follow those rules.
- KNOW THE RULES - Even if you have to know all the rules, your characters don't, nor do the audience. They can be mistaken about the rules, or not know them at all. If used properly, this can provide nice drama.
- Unless you're dealing with interactive fiction. When your audience is also helping to craft the story, they need to understand the rules, and if you pull the rug out from under their characters/agents/whatever, you'll also be pulling the rug out from them, which will feel like a betrayal.
- TAKE NOTES - Take copious, copious notes.
- If you're traveling to real historical times & places, do your research and get it right.
- TAKE YOUR TIME - Any time a character or characters travel through time (either forward or backward), stop and check your notes. Make sure you've got everything lined up, extrapolate answers to questions, figure out as many ramifications to changes made as possible.
- If you're writing a novel, end the chapter or section here.
- If you're writing a screenplay for a film, use this as a scene- or act-break.
- If it's a TV show, go to commercial.
- If you're running an RPG, end the session there.
The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Back to the Future