Time Bending Rules 101*
by Marilyn Almodóvar
When I finally figured out that I was writing a Time Traveling series, the challenge was to find an element in it that would be fresh and original. While there aren’t many Young Adult books about Time Traveling, this topic has been done a lot on television and in film. As a Whovian, I wanted my Time Traveler to be as different as, say, the Doctor.
Thus, I explored the possibility of what it would be like for someone to have the ability to not only bend Time, but also create Time portals that could transport them into other eras, or simply from Point A to Point B. In the process of creating a world where people have these kinds of abilities, I had to decide things like how common Time Benders are, what other kinds of abilities people can have, how to govern all of them, and what kind of consequences they could invoke by using their powers.
For my main character, Baxter, I wanted her ability to bend Time to have a major downside since, of course, no one is invincible. Baxter has to cope with losing her own energy in the process of moving from the present to the past or future. The more portals she opens and the longer it takes for her to travel through Time, the more she ages. To help her with the energy loss, I provided a healer in the shape of Jack Ashdown, but he can’t work miracles or plastic surgeries. Otherwise, I’d be patenting his mad skills!
After I finished torturing—I mean, creating all the rules involved in Baxter’s ability—I decided that Time Travel shouldn’t result in the Butterfly Effect. I wanted to link historical periods in time to the main structure of the novel because I knew which time periods she would visit. So in my books, when portals are opened, this causes a shift in the world. Wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc., are the results of Time Traveling because the energy used by the Time Bender is not only his/hers, but also the world’s.
As you may have guessed, the Time Benders in my books aren’t meant to use their abilities to go back in Time to change things as they see fit. This becomes a significant plot element in the stories. Baxter has to choose whether she will go back in Time to change events that have impacted her life, or whether she will respect the power she wields.
Whenever the Time Benders in my stories create portals, they leave behind Fissures, which are like corridors through Time. These Fissures can be used by other Magical Beings, though it’s highly unlikely that those beings will survive going through the Fissures if they don’t have a Time Bender with them. Even though the Fissure is a crack in Time, traveling through one could potentially kill a person. Imposing this significant consequence was another decision I made while building this world.
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