Saturday, March 07, 2009

Losing Track of Time - Daylight Savings Time

Please tune in to my Blog Talk Radio Show this Sunday at 4pm Daylight Savings Time - Illinois time -

Friday night I fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up at almost 10:30, I thought the next day was Friday. Then, I got my bearings and remembered it would actually be Saturday in the morning. That was a wonderful surprise to my foggy mind.

On Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m., we'll spring ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time. I suspect many of us won't wait until 2 to set our clocks, but will set them before we go to bed, or maybe forget about it until we get reminded by someone the next day.

Speaking of losing track of time, this can happen in the book realm. It's a wonderful feeling to get so lost in a book you lose track of time. On the other hand, it's not so wonderful if you're reading a book and you can't keep track of when the events take place.

Authors need to be aware of this and insert small hints about the passage of time, so the readers have some idea if it's been a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a month, or more that have passed. You can do this by describing seasons, or even mentioning the sun going down, and in other ways.

What about you? Have you ever fallen asleep and lost track of time? Have you ever lost track of time because you were so engrossed in a book? Authors, do you have any other hints to portray the passage of time in a novel? Please share.


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  2. Because I like to stay up at all hours, losing track of time is a perpetual problem for me. (I prefer to reserve all my creative activity for nighttime, when it's quiet).

    To make up for the sleep I've lost at night, I nap during the day, which can make the problem worse. More than once I've awakened to see dim light in my bedroom window, only to become confused when it actually grows darker outside instead of lighter. It's only when the fog of sleep fully clears that I realize it's not sunrise, but sunset.

  3. Anonymous8:12 AM

    Good advice on including "time tips" in a manuscript. I have lost tract of time lots of times when reading a REALLY good book. When I was in my late 20's (early 30"s? I forget) I read Shogun. I started that book around noon one day and got so lost people had to remind me to eat, that it was time to get some sleep, etc. I kept telling myself, around 2 am, that I'd just finish this chapter then get some sleep. Wasn't happening. Each chapter ended with such compelling cliff-hanging "ya gotta know what happens next" immediacy - when I finished the book and finally "came to," it was daybreak.

  4. Omg, I had forgotten all about the daylight savings thing! Thanks for the reminder!

  5. I hate when I fall asleep and when I wake up, I'm in a bit of a daze as to what day it is, or whether it is 8 p.m. or 8 a.m. or some such thing like that.
    And yes, it happens to me every now and again.
    On the other hand, I love it when I have my nose so deep in to a book that I forget all about how much time has passed while I have been busy, reading away! That, is truly a delightful way to pass the day -or night.

  6. Geepers, I'm forever leaping out of bed at 6 ayem to make sure my son gets to school, only to figure out it's Saturday and I could sleep until 8. Too bad I'm already awake.

    Time in my books is something I have to stay on top of - otherwise I have bodies that have decomposed in a single day, people who disappeared yesterday but have been dead for a week, you get the idea. I actually have a spreadsheet to keep track of the days (plus clues and characters in scenes). Otherwise I'd have a big ole time-traveling mess.

    Gayle Carline

  7. One of the many ways I try to show time in my books is through birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Most of my stories span several years, so once it's established when a character's birthday occurs, I use that the following year to help establish placement in the timeline.

    And I used to get lost in a book so easily! Not so much anymore, as I've become very short attention span challenged as well as a 'light reader' - similar to 'light sleeper.'

    L. Diane Wolfe

  8. I'm constantly losing track of time. I always have more to do than I have hours in the day. I think I'll set my clock before bed Saturday night, which will probably be around 1 am on Sunday morning. LOL! Nice post.

  9. I'll be there BUT it's only US and Canada this week they changed from the rest of the world 3 years ago I think it was. The rest are I think March 22nd.

    I guess US were not happy time is taken from Greenwich and I mean the one in London.



  10. First of all, I have to say that I REALLY dislike the whole time change thing. I wish we could just pick one and stick with it! UGH!
    Ok, that being said. I absolutely love it when I can fall into a book so deeply that before I know it, a couple of hours have passed. I don't get that chance very often, with two little ones, but when I do, it is awesome.

  11. When I was about 19 y.o. and in my first apartment, I had gone to my boyfriend's graduation party. Of course I didn't get home until the wee hours of the morning. When I got home I just went to bed and fell fast asleep. When I did wake up I was so discombooberated that I got on the phone and dialed "O" and the operator said, "We don't give the time & date honey. You have to call the 800# for that." I was so beside myself that I started explaining what had happened. She felt sorry for me and finally told me the day and time!

    Cindy Hernandez

  12. Oh goodness when I read the last Harry Potter book, I hadn't intended to stay up all night. I started at 1 am next thing I knew I finished the book and it was 6:35am.

    One year later


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