Friday, September 05, 2008
TIME FRAMES By Morgan Mandel
While I was at the Apple Fest in Eagle River, Wisconsin, I had to ask the vendor what date it was before I could write out a check for the earrings I wanted to buy.
A few times I had to think twice about what day of the week it was, since this vacation started on a Wednesday, instead of the usual Friday.
Then, after trying to dodge the raindrops on the way to work, when I got there it seemed like a Monday, though it was Thursday.
It's easy to get mixed up about time. That's why when you're writing your manuscript you need to insert subtle hints here and there about the time of day, season, day of the week and year.
Here are a few easy ways to do this:
Time of day - Describe the sun coming up, or going down. What does the moon look like?
Season - Raking up leaves, throwing snowballs, watching new buds come up, feeling the hot sun on your feet at the beach.
Day of the week - Monday blues, Tuesday settling down to work day, Wednesday hump day, Thursday can hardly wait to go out Friday night, Friday pizza night, Saturday cleaning house day, Sunday church day.
Year - This will depend on when you set your novel. If it's during a bygone time, you'll need to insert hints about happenings then. The main thing is to keep track of when the novel starts, how many years it spans. You may need to show the change of seasons or the aging of your characters.
Hope this helps you keep track of time. If you remember to drop these hints in your manuscripts from the start, you won't have to go back later and try to figure out the time line. Believe me, it's not easy to figure it out later. I know from experience.