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For example. I think a story about time-travel where people from the future transport people away from things like the concentration camps, Hiroshima, and the Twin Towers would be interesting. (And they all live in the future.) But without out something to overcome what is the story?

I know I'm way behind here, but I wanted to comment on this.

In the best stories, plot will emerge from character. To put it another way, develop a character, and find out what their personal obstacle is, and then the plot will start to "write itself."

In the time-travel scenario you mention, there are numerous possibilities. Ask these questions...whos is rescuing people from the past, and why? Is it altruism, is it "research", or are there darker motives? Do the time travellers have unlimited access to history, or is it a difficult operation, so that they must choose carefully where they rescue from? Perhaps you could write about time travellers who are sent to observe, and then someone "breaks the code" and tries to save someone because they have fallen in love, or recognize an ancestor (check out "The Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis - an outstanding novel on this very subject).

One question that comes to my mind is: what ethical questions are raised by bringing someone out of the past and into a very different future - will the culture shock be worse than death?

SF is supposed to address big issues, but the issues are most powerfully illustrated when rooted in individual human motives. How do their beliefs and actions stem from who they are inside? In the "code breaking" scenario, you could have two main characters - one who follows the code, but who is reticent and unhappy in life, and another who ends up trying to break it, so save someone they love. They are outgoing, engaged by life, unafriad to love, but your story could rightly ask, is such a person wise or foolish? Which of these two people is guilty of hubris? That's how an "issue" can be ravelled into drama.

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Thanks, KidA. Very interesting stuff.


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