So this week, I finished my second time travel story - a look at how Ishene (time mage and historian) and Kemel (fire mage and bodyguard) first met.
I found myself dealing far more than I wanted to with the messy elements of temporal paradox ... but I had to explain why they were stepping into the past to solve a mystery and not simply preventing the murder. I hope it didn't make the story unnecessarily muddy or come off as a plot device, because there are a couple points where paradox gets bent ... but in my original story (set 15 - 20 years after this one), paradox is still very much an unknown - and something you can't experiment with because the consequences of experimentation are potentially too great. (No one knows for sure. But you don't mess about when "the world stops working" is one of the options.)
Anyway, I did my best to convey there's theories and workarounds and ... without letting it take over the story. But to prevent that, there had to be an element of, "Just take my word for it," from Ishene. Hopefully it feels like there's a logic to it, even if it's not expounded upon - and even if the characters themselves haven't figured out its limits.
On lighter notes ... wow, I loved playing with these characters at a different age and point in their relationship. Besides the full story, I've written a starter for another, so I have a good feel for where they settle out and what they're like in their thirties. Conveying the same characters as twenty-somethings or teens (I didn't specify which), and establishing the easy dynamic they eventually have was a lot of fun. They certainly have rougher edges, but I hope they seem like the same people.
Dealing with the romantic question was entertaining for me. Cue a kiss and two characters scrambling not to be the first one to say, "Err, that did absolutely nothing for me." It's the start of a solid multi-decade career and friendship, and I much enjoyed examining it.