Tag Archive - time

6 Ways to Manipulate Time in Fiction

Today’s guest post is by Martin Cavannagh.

One of the least analyzed literary devices in literature is time.

Time works differently in books. It ceases to be the tyrannical presence that we know in real life and instead becomes a simple tool that the writer manipulates to tell her story. Every great story puts time to work for it on some level—many times, in a way that’s deft and creative.

Okay, so what’s the literary equivalent of Notting Hill’s famous “Walk through the Seasons” sequence in Notting Hill, you might ask? Well, authors have their own tricks up their sleeves when it comes to controlling time. Let’s take a look at them now.

Here are six ways that writers work around the clock to tame time in their stories. Continue Reading…

How Writers Can Create Continuity in Showing the Passing of Time

Continuity is so important in a novel. Readers should be able to move from one scene to the next without effort. Without struggling to figure out when the scene is taking place and how much time has passed since the prior scene with your characters.

Scenes are strung together, like pearls in a strand. Each should be flawless and beautiful and contribute to the overall effect of the story. One of the ways to ensure your scenes are strung together effectively is to examine the way you move from one scene to the next.

We’ve covered most of the items in my scene structure checklist since the year began, and I hope these posts are helping you to get scene structure under your belt. Faulty scenes are the most problematic issue I see in the critiques I do, and that’s why we’re taking time to go deep. Continue Reading…

Time Is the Topic of the Day

Writers often refer to the time of day in a scene, so it’s good to know when to spell out the time and when to use numerals. The rule is fairly simple. Times of day in even, half, and quarter hours are usually spelled out in text. With o’clock, the number is always spelled out.

  • Her day begins at five o’clock in the morning.
  • The meeting continued until half past three.
  • He left the office at a quarter of four (or a quarter to four. The a before quarter is optional).
  • We will resume at ten thirty.
  • Cinderella almost forgot that she should leave the ball before midnight.

Numerals are used (with zeros for even hours) when exact times are emphasized. Chicago recommends lowercase a.m. and p.m., though these sometimes appear in small capitals, with or without periods.

  • The first train leaves at 5:22 a.m. and the last at 11:00 p.m.
  • She caught the 6:20 p.m. flight.
  • Please attend a meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on December 5 at 10:30 a.m. (EST).
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