This month’s Futures story in Nature Physics comes from J. Kyle Turner, who highlights some of the less-explored issues with time travel in his story Better late.

I was introduced to The Secret about two years ago, in 2007. I received the book from my parents on my 22nd birthday and I was very interested in The Secret’s message. I had always (unknowingly) used The Secret, but now that I knew how deep it went, I was intrigued. I started using it for little things, nothing too significant, but it always worked out in the end.

Fast forward to the fifteenth of that month. I was sitting in the corner of my school’s library, exhausted, blank notebook in front of me, and I was looking around the room for anything, anything that I could write about. About a month ago, I graduated from university with a Bachelor of Education. I had recently moved to a new city and I was ready to start applying for teaching positions. I’ve always been a procrastinator and I guess I waited a little too long to start applying. I ended up only applying for a teaching position with one school board, although it was the board which I definitely wanted to work for the most. I was a little over confident in thinking that I would get a job with them and I didn’t think to have a Plan B.

Suddenly I had a building to write about, which did for an opening paragraph. But I needed a character, and I needed one soon, and so I thought, “Why not toss a bitter employee into the mix?” By then the throttle had really opened up, and the only things I needed to figure out were:

a) Why my main character was so bitter about his work?

b) What might cause him to come to terms with that conflict? Once I had the answer to both those questions, I had the first draft of Better late.