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Writing Books/Can your character change the past?


I'm a college student with a minor in Creative Writing. I would like to ask this question regarding the time travel plot in fiction.

Once I put my character back to the past, can the character change the course of a historical event? For example, can he change the outcome of a battle during the American Civil War?

My teacher said No. He said the character could only help bring about the actual event.

I'm a bit confused. If what the character does is only contributing to what really happened, then how can the plot be exciting? Is it true that he cannot change anything in the past?

Could you pls advise  according to books that you have read?

Thank you.

Lee, well it depends. Realistically no, but when writing fiction...which is make-believe anything goes.The sci-fi writers do it both ways. Remember the butterfly that was stepped on and changed the future...

It's fiction.You can do anything you want - depends on the story line, the genre, etc.


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Sue Viders


I can answer various questions about how to create characters for fiction writers.


Two published books, Heroes and Heroines, and Ten Steps to Creating a Memorable Character, plus years of teaching both on-site and on-line

Several national magazines...had monthly columns


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