Managing Time

I read somewhere that a paragraph which takes a writer hours to write takes a reader only seconds to read. Inside that paragraph, time may slow to a crawl or go whizzing past. What are some time management techniques?
Writing Tip for Today:

  • Expanding Time. Do you need the reader to stroll through a description of a lazy summer’s day? Write longer sentences which contain perhaps less action or slowed action, romance language root words and more modifiers.
  • Contracting Time. Do you want high tension and fast pace? Short sentences with lots of active verbs, few modifiers and more Teutonic-origin words with guttural sounds help time seem to whizz by.
  • When you change scenes, be sure to get your time transition early in the first sentence. A reader always needs to know where and when they are.
  • Keep transitions short and simple. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. “The next day” is concise and lets the reader go on to the action without wondering how this new scene relates time-wise to the one before it.
  • Careful with back story. Resist the urge to dump background info in the first chapters. Don’t confuse your reader with a flashback within a flashback.
  • If your story jumps around in time, investigate other techniques, such as switching tenses, to cement when the real time story happens as opposed to the flashbacks.

Tomorrow, Thursday Jan. 27, on The Bookshelf Muse, I’m guest posting my ideas of describing trailers as part of the Setting Thesaurus. You’ll never think of trailers the same way again.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.