Tuesday, February 19, 2013

02/20/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the week has started treating you well. It's strange, I realized that it's already at the 19th and my brain had to take a couple double-takes. That just seems a bit ridiculous to me. That means there's less than 10 days left in this month already, which is crazy.

In order to follow with the theme, let's talk about time progression today. This is something that you must be aware of in regards to both yourself and also your potential reader. Now how much time passes in the story is not something that I personally figure out before I begin writing. Rather I have a rough estimate of how much time would logically pass and we see if that's what happens. There are points when the amount of time that passes will be important to the plot, and in those cases it's imperative that you are focused on that. If you say something will happen in three days, just to make your lift somewhat easier, make some kind of marker on the page where that was said, then each time someone goes to sleep put another one, that way when you are at the point when the event is supposed to happen you know that you're in the right place.

In those situations I recommend to only go through each individual day no more than five times. You can mention the other days, of course, and you can skip around too, but the reason why I say that is rather simple; not every day is going to be exciting. If you have something that's going to happen in say a week, yes the characters are going to be preparing for it while at the same time dealing with a bunch of other stuff in order to make things interesting, however, there is likely going to be at least one day where all they do is prepare, and (try to) go about their daily lives. Sometimes that can be interesting too, but that doesn't mean you need to go into detail about each and every day. At points it's perfectly fine to just say that they went about their normal routine and tried to keep themselves focused and not fill 10s of pages with each day. That's a lot of work for an author that they might not necessarily need to make.

Something else that's important is to keep the reader in mind too during those points. You as the author might think three days of preparation is awesome, but is your reader going to care about every single detail, or when it gets to the point where the characters are repeating their actions throughout the day to make sure everything's in place while they wait? Not necessarily. I'm not saying it never happens, but in general, especially if the characters finish all their prep before the specified time, it's perfectly acceptable to just skip ahead at that point. Now having at least one day where things are calm and normal before the storm might be nice too, especially since it does help build a sense of what the characters are all fighting for.

One thing that always seems kind of awkward for me as an author is to have someone point out the progression of time. It seems weird, mostly because it's a strange conversation to have with everyone. How often does a friend come up to you and said 'Remember that thing that happened six months ago? Yeah that was weird, and also awesome.' in normal conversation? That's because it generally doesn't happen. People tend to remember what happened to them six months ago, at least if it's that significant of an event. However, there has to be some kind of explainer saying that time has passed and also how much. Whether it's a person pointing it out, or somewhere in the narrative, it needs to be done. Especially in the case of a sequel, because there needs to be some kind of indicator that tells how far the characters have come since we've last seen them. I'll just admit it's sometimes kind of a weird thing to put in as dialogue.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope the week has been treating you all well. For now though, I will be back here on Friday with my normal blog! Until then, have a great rest of the week!

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