#Innerscape part 10 – the thriller I had no intention of writing

I’m in way over my head! I write sci-fi, not thrillers or mysteries…so how did I get to a point where I’m having to work out time differentials for the plot?

Before I try to explain what’s been driving me crazy, I need to say that all of my favourite sci-fi books weave together a mix of history, culture, psychology, politics, technology, conflict and an element of mystery. Think Dune, and working out the relationship of the great worms to the planet’s ecology. All of that is normal because good sci-fi creates worlds, and worlds are full of people, and people do ‘stuff’.

I understand all that, especially the bit about people doing ‘stuff’. My problem is that I never expected the characters in Innerscape to finish up doing mystery thriller type stuff.

I’ve read mystery thriller type books by the boat load, but there is a world of difference between reading in a genre and trying to write in that genre. I feel as if I’m groping for the ‘rules’ on the fly, and it’s hard. Integrating the requirements of mystery/thrillers into a sci-fi environment is even harder, and at the moment I’m stuck on ‘time’.

To make the plot work, various people have to do various things, together and in sequence, so I have to know when things happen, right down to the last minute. But…in order to make the Residents of Innerscape feel as if they are living for longer, time in Innerscape runs faster than time on the outside. About twenty minutes faster.

As an aspect of science fiction, this time differential between Innerscape and the outside world is not a big deal. I do some hand waving and a bit of arithmetic and the time flows make sense. Easy peasey…until I introduce the twin elements of mystery and thriller to the mix. Suddenly the difference between Innerscape time and real world time matters, a lot. So does how I present this conflict between internal and external time.

Right from the beginning of Innerscape, I’ve worked hard to make the reader feel as if time really is passing, hopefully without hitting them over the head with dates and durations and elapsed blah blah. Now, though, I’ve reached a point where I really am going to have to elevate time to the position of Very Important Plot Element, and I’m struggling.

The pic below is a screenshot of the StoryBox navigation pane for Part 10. It’s one of the reasons I love StoryBox as it allows me to outline, more or less on the fly:

innerscape navigation time


As an outline, the pic only makes sense to me [just as well or I’d have to post a Spoiler Alert!]. But it does show how I’m trying to work out what happens when.

Sadly, the reason I’m writing this post is that I’m sort of stumped…and procrastinating. Once I finish the post, I’m going to have to resort to pen and paper to storyboard the exact sequence of events because at the moment, I feel horribly muddled. -sigh-

If there are any thriller/mystery writers out there with tips, I’d love to hear them.






About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

11 responses to “#Innerscape part 10 – the thriller I had no intention of writing

  • Tour Perpetual Birthday Calendar Happenings for Paleolithic Sexytimes #FridayRecommends - MARIAN ALLEN, AUTHOR LADY

    […] recommendations are all about time. Not the kind of time Meeka (writer A. C. Flory) is writing about in Innerscape, just, you know, time […]


  • marianallen

    Oh, my gosh! I thought I had it bad with all the various characters’ timelines in SAGE, but at least time ran the same for all of them! Except, you know, when it didn’t. And you have the difficulty of the time growing more disjointed as it passes, because twenty minutes in an hour means EACH HOUR is twenty minutes shorter, so each day is twenty-four-times-twenty minutes shorter, and each week is…. This is hurting my head.


    • acflory

      Yup….:( I’ve been struggling with this for over two weeks now. The bright spot is that after numerous excel attempts I realised that there are repeating /patterns/ – i.e. every two real days equals 3 Innerscape days and the pattern of slippage is the same in each 2 day cycle. Once I was sure I’d done it properly, and that it wasn’t just a fluke, it did make things a bit easier. But I will never do this again. Well, not the part where everything depends on time. Never, never, never….

      Liked by 1 person

  • EllaDee

    I’m intrigued, and sad can’t offer my time currently to do any reading for you. Maybe the return from our trip will coincide with the next stage.


    • acflory

      I’m actually glad you can’t…yet. The whole time thing has ended up with me combing through the whole MS and making things fit properly. It’s like a pre-edit just to get the timing right. At this point I’m shooting for Christmas. -sigh-


  • chrisjames282

    Glad you’re enriching the stew 🙂


  • Candy Korman

    Welcome to my world! I tend to keep it all in my head and then start jotting notes that that the events have a logical sequence and there are sufficient red herrings to keep the sleight-of-hand going. A timeline is good. I’ve often used actual calendars, while plotting events how, when, who… some many things to keep together!


  • dvberkom

    I think your idea of getting it down on paper makes sense. That’s what I do whenever I’m faced with time and/or plot issues. The time element is difficult/exacting no matter what–but I imagine doubly so when you have twin worlds/elements in your story.
    Innerscape sounds exciting! Good luck!


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