The genesis of a story idea is an ethereal thing, sometimes. A couple or three separate ideas lodge in the brain and over time they combine and a completely different “thing” is formed. A thing that would make a good tale, one that others would enjoy hearing.
The “over time” ingredient, however, can be months, or longer.
In 2013 I saw this Tweet:
wonders if all those unsolved murders might just be time travelers killing future Hitlers
— Roman Godzich (@Romang) July 11, 2013
I immediately thought this would be a good idea for a story, but an idea is not a story. I didn’t have the arc. I didn’t know the protagonist or antagonists (yet). Location, time, how the time travel would be presented all fuzzy.
The premise, that unsolved murders are the result of time travellers coming back to clean up messes, was good. That’s essentially the premise of the Terminator movies.
But to craft that premise over three acts, with a good character arc and a nice twist at the end, that took me a little while.
Over a year, in fact.
Initially Act 1 was easy. Act 2 floundered. Act 3 was impossible. Turns out I was looking at the story the wrong way. I was focussing on the time travel aspect of the story and not the reason for the time travel.
Then last November a virtual lightning bolt hit me on the top of my bald head and I knew how to end it. Once you know that, the rest falls into place. And after that, it wrote quickly. Probably because I’d spent over a year bouncing various permutations of the story around my mostly hollow skull.
It’s available for preorder now, and will be released on April 15, 21 months after the initial spark.
So, if you read Killing Time and enjoy it, thanks Roman Godzich. He provided the spark.