Thursday, February 10, 2011

Time, time...time, time

This past week, I continuously found myself out of time. For what? For anything. For writing, critiquing, blogging - everything. And it's frustrating because I find myself very tired. I tend to think it's because, as soon as my exam session in college was over, I got now holiday - zip, nada, continuous school starting the very next day at 8 a.m. (which implies waking up at 6: 30 - yes, I know I'm whiny). And the exhaustion is starting to catch up with me. So, today, I went home. Which implies an approximate 3 hour drive. So now I'm pooped. Again.

So...yeah. Fictional characters never have that kind of trouble, do they? They can skip over the boring trips and can be as fresh as daises after a good night sleep. Except when you're not letting them.
I personally don't let them.

By now, you might all know that I write a YA series. If you don't... I write a YA series. Yup, seven books - seven jewels, seven adventures, seven years, more or less (I tend to say more, because I think about eight years pass in between the first and last book of the series).
Does one book represent one year? Of course not! That would be waaay too coincidental (nudge, nudge - one of my few problems with Harry Potter). Actually, the first three books happen in about 4 months. Which leaves my characters exhausted. It's fun to write exhausted people when you're exhausted yourself. So I give them a bit of a short time.

They say timing is everything - my forth book skips 2 months. My fifth book skips over 3 years. How do you know when and how much time to skip? Well, I guess it's up to what you're trying to prove. And in my case, I'd better have a damn good reason why my team suddenly stops finding huge jewels. I do. I'm working on it.

In my current novel making the critting cycle, I jumped over 8 months at some point - and then the rest of the action kinda happens in three weeks. Why did I do that? Because my two, soon to be lovers, MCs needed some closure. Some people might get over failed relationships faster, but my peeps happen to be kinda... immortal, and as Daniel himself says: Cheryl died less than a year ago and that’s like a drop in my long life.

What I've never done, but am planning to do is leave my characters short for time. Make them act, give them no choice. So far, I'd left them at they're own pace. They don't stall, they pretty much get the job done, but they're never pressed for time by impending doom. That's something I want to try because I'm curious as to how my characters would react. Better put that on my to-do list. 

So, how about you guys? How to you handle your time? Does it slip out the window sometimes? And do your characters suffer from lack of time or too much of it?
*off to get some sleep* 


  1. Interesting post! One WIP of mine takes place over one week, so no-one has much time to let up (although a few manage to consume an awful lot of booze - their choice!) You're right, though, time can be tricky in fiction as you don't want to bore the reader even if the MC is treading water.
    Sleep tight!

  2. Interesting post. My first novel spans over a period of ten months with initial references back to a span of five months.

    My sequel now has been a problem trying to figure out the time line. I don't want to have too many flashbacks so I think it will be over a two year span.

    Time is a tricky thing. Instead of flashbacks, maybe I'll do Part 1 and Part 2.

    I think we write our best under stress, but do get some sleep, even if your characters don't.

  3. I don't have any time in real life because I'm busy at work building a fort on top of my desk. That's my excuse for the state of my desk, anyway.

    My first novel spanned close to a month, while my second takes place over about two weeks. While my characters pass the time, I try to put something (usually evil) just under their radar so that the character thinks life is boring, but the reader is smart enough to know better. This is easier said than done, though.

  4. I don't even know how to answer this one. The main story of A Ranger's Tale happened over about two years, with a prologue about 90 years prior, and an epilogue 5 years later. Serenya's Song starts with a prologue about 30 years prior, and will probably take place over about a two month span, and no idea what my epilogue will look like yet :)

    Time stamps often are an afterthought for me, as I go back to edit, and make sure those important day/night/month/season references are correct. My characters do sleep now and then, but I try to avoid too many "toothbrush" moments, as they say, and give them lots of challenges.


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