It Takes a Village

community , writing 0 comments

One of the first questions that presented itself when I first started thinking about the idea that eventually became CAUSALITY was a simple one — who are these time travelers? I don’t just mean, what are the characters themselves like? Because that’s an even more involved question, one I didn’t even begin to tackle until I had Glynis Mitchell’s help. What I meant was — who is this group? What are they all about and what do they do?

The immediately obvious idea was that they were some sort of official organization, like a police force, or some sort of task force appointed by a governmental agency in the future, given certain responsibilities and sent back here to perform them.

Let me give you one quick little piece of advice, as a writer — throw out your first idea. Especially if it’s the immediately obvious idea.

This idea had its problems. First off, it was kind of ridiculous on the face of it. An official organization that stretches across history? Really? How is it organized? Under whose authority? And what makes them an authority with jurisdiction over all of history? How does it communicate, how does it reinforce its regulations?

I’m sure you can think of a dozen other problems with it, and sure, they’re all problems that you could think of some way to solve, but — the idea itself just isn’t that interesting, or original. You can think of examples from Time Tunnel to Timecop. And if you remove the time travel aspect, you’re still left with dozens of science-fiction series that revolve around a secret government organization. The X-Files, Fringe, Torchwood …. It was an idea I wanted to get away from entirely.

So. If not a government project, maybe our heroes worked for something a little more loosely organized? Some sort of Time Traveler’s Aid Society?

That seemed more workable, but still a little too official. I really wanted our heroes to be more or less on their own, without any real structure or support network to rely on.

In the end, I figured that cities with a large enough population of time travelers would end up organizing, essentially, a neighborhood watch. People who worked together to keep a lid on things not because they were sworn to do it, or because they were being paid to do it, but because it needed to be done. Friends, allies, neighbors. The beginnings of a community.

That ended up suiting the themes of the story we wanted to tell perfectly …. and started to mirror the real-life community that’s building up around the show itself.

Posted by   @   January 19, 2011 0 comments
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