marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

time passing. . . .

I'm bad at it.  This scene, that scene -- I can do the scenes themselves, but how to indicate how much, or approximately how much, time passes in between.

"Three weeks later" or "two minutes later" or "the next day" would stick out like a sore thumb in my prose style.

Having the characters make reference to the time passing has to find a natural location to do it in.  Even if I do locate it, I sometimes have first readers complaining that it's a jolt, they hadn't realized it was that much later, they had thought these things were bang, bang, bang right after each other.

Even if I set up that the characters have to sit around all day because something will happen at night, if something happens during the day, and I do a scene cut from dawn to it, I have to find some way to indicate how much time has passed.

Clocks help, or nightwatchmen, or the slant of the sunlight.  If I've got them.  But there are scenes when slithering them in does not work.  And there are characters -- even reflective characters, and certainly impulsive ones -- who would not notice such things well enough to tell the time.

Transitions, sometimes, when the gap is short enough.  But they have to be both summary and interesting to read.  I'm bad at them.
Tags: grumbles, story structure, story time, style, writing technique
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