“What’s your What If?”

I’m working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron and I thought I’d share some of the process.

Here’s the third exercise in the book.

“What’s your What If?”

What if there’s a technology – a time train – that carries you to a world thirty years in the past. It’s not your past, though. You can’t change things there and expect yourself to change. And of course as other tourists from the future interact with the past, it diverges ever more from canonical history. What you can do, though, is meet your parents when they were your age. Or travel forward to meet your adult children.

Ruth hunter has given up on everything but justice. That’s because everything in her life has flown in justice’s face, from society to the police to especially her family. She works alone, well-connected, but friendless, trying to chip away at the suffering and cruelty growing unchecked in her city. Until the teen-aged version of her mother walks into her office.

Emily Gallagher, from up the Time Line, knows that Ruth is her potential daughter and hopes to use that relationship to get Ruth’s help. Emily is looking for her son, a child born two years before Ruth, of whose existence Ruth has been entirely unaware. Worse, Emily’s efforts to track down her son have entangled her with the crime boss who runs Ruth’s city.
Trying to protect Emily, Ruth is forced back into contact with her family, both up and down the Time Line. Trying to rescue her lost baby brother and the hundreds of others like him, Ruth is faced with an impossible choice: her family represents everything that is getting worse about the world, but they are the only people willing to help her improve it.

(in case you didn’t know, the book I’m writing is called The Centuries Unlimited)

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