Monday 21 November 2011

Time travelling

Since I'm now looking at Romance markets for some of my stories, I thought I'd do some research into the genre. I was amazed at the variety; practically any genre can have romantic leanings, apparently - including westerns, horror and suspense.

The one that intrigued me the most was time travel, because apart from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger I can't think of another example within fiction, and I'm not sure she deserves a whole genre for one book. I'm sure you'll all be able to correct me and list hundreds (please do!).

The problem with time travel stories is that there are many ways to tie the plot in knots so it doesn't make sense - I'm sure you must have wasted hours of your youth, as I did with my friends, discussing the Back to the Future trilogy - although I don't remember anything glaringly obvious in The Time Traveler's Wife.

One of my mum's favourite films from years ago was Somewhere in Time, with Christopher Reeve. It's a lovely film, a tear-jerker, perfect for wet and windy Sunday afternoons. But - just a slight but this time- the opening scenes put my head in a proper spin. An elderly woman approaches Christopher Reeve and says something along the lines of "My love, please come back to me".

This makes Reeves curious, and he goes off to investigate this woman and discovers a picture of her when she was younger. He falls in love with this picture (as you do!) and decides to travel back in time to meet her.

Now, it's that opening paradox that jars slightly. If he'd just looked at this woman, called her crazy and not given her another thought, he'd never gone back in time to meet her, which means she wouldn't have spoken to him in the present because he would have been a stranger. Which means, there would be no film,... so I can kind of understand why they did it.

Anyway, that was a very long-winded way of saying that you really have to think about your time travel plotline! I'd really love to read your comments on this - I could talk time-travel for hours. Just give me a moment to pour the wine!!


  1. I've just finish a story that has a bit of time travel in it - and a bit of romance :-) It's running on two timelines and it's very hard to make the second change correctly in accordance with what happens in the first :-)

  2. Have you seen The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock? Very romantic and satisfyingly confusing until you get to the 'aha!' moment!

  3. Time travel plot lines are the sort of things that I can spend a long time thinking about and I know exactly what you mean about Reeves having to go back in time or the woman wouldn't have said... etc. There's always a love interest in Dr Who is that counts and would you call Sliding Doors a time travel genre?

  4. I must confess the one film I thought about was the Lake House it has such a good story line to it although abit confusing sometimes

  5. Sarah - spooky timing!

    Linda and Sue - I made The Lake House much more confusing for myself by only watching from about a third of the way in. I keep meaning to go back and watch from the start!

    Rosalind - the River Song plot in the recent Dr Who series had me a bit confused, but not enough to detract me. I wouldn't call Sliding Doors time travel, it's more of an alternate reality, but it perfectly echoes my thoughts on Fate and is one of those stories I'd love to have written.

  6. I didn't thin that I like time travel stories until I read and then watched the Time Traveler's wife. It was so sad. I have not seen the Lake House, but I love Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. I don't know I missed that.

    I could have sworn I was already following your blog, but I did not see my name as one of your followers so I just joined again as a follower.

  7. Hi Melissa, I thought you were following me too - I remember seeing your name on the list, but Blogger is messing around and not always showing all of my followers (just when I was starting to get a decent nnumber too!)

    I haven't seen the film of the Time Traveler's Wife - I enjoyed the book enough not to watch the film, if that makes sense. Keanu and Sandra together are excellent, you definitely should watch The Lake House.

  8. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is a historical romance/adventure that includes time travel. In fact Claire and Jamie are on my top 5 list of best fictional couples. Great series!

  9. Suzie - ok, so maybe time travel does deserve its own sub-genre. Just goes to show how much I don't know about romance!


Please comment - I love a good chat!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.