I’ve been writing for quite a while and I’ve been writing fanfiction for just as long, being as I began my writing career writing fanfiction in the 80s. Even so, I’d forgotten how continuity sometimes can be terribly frustrating, even if it’s not my continuity that ends up being under scrutiny. I’ve been known to write more words of background articles and notes documents than end up in my finished manuscripts, which form a considerable writer’s bible, but inevitably end up countradicting themselves on myriad occasions.
In this case, I’ve been trying to work in the small timeframe in which Ford met Bill to the events leading up to his disappearance through the Universe Portal. I needed to pin down times and dates a bit more than are outlined in Ford’s own writings (the published Journal 3, which I am using as my primary canon source) and other relatively reliable collections of information regarding the canon Gravity Falls timeline. Unfortunately our dear Author actually contradicts himself in his own Journal regarding the year he met Bill and the time Fiddleford came to the Falls.
Early on in the Third Journal, Ford states that he met his muse in 1981 in his self-created timeline, then in his entry about his muse, which follows a few pages later, he states that this event occurred ‘two years ago’.
The next dated entries are in August. After this, several pages later, July 29 is written as the date Fidds arrives to assist him in the engineering aspects of the Portal.
He vanishes later this same year, when Stanley arrives. 1982 has been established as the ‘year it all changed’. This date is firm in the canon, this was the year Ford fell into the Multiverse. So, technically it was a year between his meeting of his muse and the disaster. However, that’s a hell of a lot of stuff going on in the space of a year and it certainly doesn’t match up with Ford’s statement of two years of working with Bill.
To solve this, I decided to adjust the continuity, and placed the fated meeting in 1979 for Flora’s story. Yet, this rankles me as a writer who likes to try to stay as close to the established storylines as possible. Perhaps I’m overthinking it (as I tend to do, especially when it comes to continuity details).
I can give Ford a break for making a couple of mistakes in his own handwritten journals, since he did seem somewhat fanciful when he would make entries.
Case in point:
Dipper (opens 3) Uh, got it! When fighting a gremloblin, use water…
Mabel (Splashes a cup of water in the creature’s face and he roars)
Dipper (turns page) …only as a last resort as water will make him much much scarier!
AH! Who writes sentences like that!?
So in conclusion, at least for now, I think I’ll just stick with the original plotline I have with Flora for now and adjust things if it comes to it later. I dislike having to step away from the established canon any more than I already have seeing as my AU is already a genderbend and that might prove to be somewhat unpopular (more on that at a later point) but I think it’d be better for it to make sense to me as I’m writing it. I love Ford dearly but we all know how erratic he can be sometimes, especially during the time he was working with Bill.