The more eagled-eyed of you all who happened to read Mutual Benefits Chapter 6 last week and this week may have noticed a change, one that may seem completely trivial on its face. In the GameStop scene, Quinn had a completely pointless argument with his coworker James about Pokémon (specifically about Flareon and its inability to learn the move Solarbeam, if you care) and now, it’s changed to a completely different pointless argument about Pokémon.
Why? Because people are taking notice of my stories’ timeline, and I need to care more about continuity now.
On Patreon, a very awesome and dedicated reader named MinimumAcids posted a summarization of their interpretation of the timeline. An equally awesome reader named OctaRos added on, outlining that the most recent chapter of MB hints at the time the story takes place given it talks about the recent release of a video game. This was great and really flattering that people care, but I realized there could be a problem. A few Google searches later and my problem was a reality – the discussion hinges on some Pokémon trivia that would not exist for another whole year.
I’d like to say I shrugged and told myself, “who cares?” but I cared immensely, and rushed to change it. This was, on its face, a small mistake, but people are now caring about the timeline of events, so I want to put a little extra effort into making sure the timeline makes sense.
And it makes sense that readers want to do this – I keep dropping vague hints at big world events and ‘where in the timeline we are’ with one story or another. It feels like solving a mystery to figure out what world events happen before they even occur, or to figure out when the story takes place without being explicitly told. It wasn’t my ultimate goal when writing (frankly I wrote in one big timeline just to better organize my ideas and characters in a Roman Room sort of way) but now that it’s being used and viewed that way, I need to realize and respect that about my readers and make sure the timeline is clean. As I said to one viewer, I promise I’m not dropping these hints to fuck with the readers and go, “nyeh nyeh, you’ll never understand what I’m doing!” I’m not the Riddler. I’m just trying not to write dialogue that looks like “this is the year 2016 in this story and the Wendy’s event was when everyone ever went to Wendy’s and got Baconators.” People in the real world don’t talk that way.
So, I changed a tangent conversation slightly – I had to contact my friend Tweed, who set up this website, to get some other obscure trivia about Pokémon, trivia so obscure even a diehard fan could get it wrong so Quinn could correct James. I sent this message to him at around 3am. I think he still hasn’t forgiven me.
As well, I’ve made a minor change to another story, also involving the release date of video games, to better organize my stories’ timelines. Again, if you do not care about organizing every story or finding out every detail, that’s equally valid. I don’t want my stories to only be enjoyable to Dan Brown mystery book readers. I’m just learning to be a bit more careful about a particular aspect of my stories. I’ll talk to you all next week.