Behind the Writing: Journalists in Time

To be honest, I’ve been procrastinating about writing this post. So far, I’ve told you about the inspiration behind my two main characters: Talie Tappler and Mr. Cognis. I’ve also told you how my favorite professor from college gave me the first half of a story idea.

But where did the second half come from? Unfortunately, that’s a more challenging thing to explain. There’s a part of the story—a crucial part—that’s not really my story to tell. So when we get there, I’ll skip over it.

My Day Job

I work at a small TV station doing video production stuff for the local news. A few years back, we had this reporter—nice, bubbly sort of girl—who felt like she kept covering the same stories over and over again.

Every row home fire, every drug deal gone wrong, every missing person case, every domestic dispute… 95% of the time, these stories ended the same way.

One day, this reporter dropped by the editing room, and we wound up chatting. She was having a rough day. Her assignment involved a local family. The details of what happened to this family, and what would ultimately happen to this family, are not mine to tell. Not in a blog post like this.

The important thing is that this reporter was almost in tears because she knew exactly how the situation was going to play out. She’d covered similar stories enough times. It was like she knew the future, and there was nothing she could do to change it.

Tomorrow’s News Today

My old English professor had suggested I write a book about journalists in space. Basically, my professor was telling me to write what I know. But the idea of reporters flying about on news shuttles, rather than driving around in news vans, didn’t excite me.

Journalists in space might be based on what I know from my professional life, but it didn’t encapsulate everything I’ve learned about the news business. There was something missing. Something critical that my reporter friend was hinting at.

What about journalists in time? What about a news agency that could, through the magic of time travel, bring you tomorrow’s news today? Could that work? It occurred to me that the rules of time travel (don’t interfere with history) have a surprising parallel with the rules of journalism (don’t interfere with your story). That felt to me like a concept worth exploring.

I’d have to let these thoughts percolate for a while. A long while. But between this conversation I had at work and the previous conversation I’d had with my professor, the seeds were now sown for the Tomorrow News Network series.

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7 thoughts on “Behind the Writing: Journalists in Time

  1. Story seeds are amazing things. I love those moments which send the creative mind spiraling ‘down the rabbit hole’.
    I had a recurring dream every night for a year when I was fourteen, this symbolic,multi-layered beast of a dream that I’ve been wanting to turn into a novel ever since. Years later, I still don’t feel I’ve unpacked it well enough to write it without losing something of its essence. I work on my notes regularly, but I know it still needs more time to percolate.
    Thanks for sharing how your story came into being.

  2. It’s interesting how ideas arise. I had wondered what led to the idea of reporters in time. But I didn’t realize until recently that you worked in TV and with reporters. Makes a lot more sense now.

    • I try to be careful with what I say about my day job. My current station doesn’t mind what I do with Tomorrow News Network, but if I ever switch to a different station there could be a problem. Some TV stations have very specific policies about what their employees can say or do online.

      • I understand completely. I’ve never mentioned my employer’s name in a post because my blog is my opinion, I want to be sure no one gets the idea I’m in any way speaking as their representative, and I don’t want anything I write to come up in a google search related to them.

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