Handling Time in a Novel

  1. A character’s interior perception of time passing may be the fact that a role has an internal sense of time. He or she is waiting for something to occur, is in the middle of a busy activity, or is idling around doing not very much. Write a scene in which the character goes from resting quietly to frantic action and pay awareness to how you make the time knowledge speed up. What happens to the length of your sentences? – They shorten as the pace picks up.
  2. As an exercise in building setting details which evoke time: Time could be a season of the year, like Autumn or a time of the day. Details are a fabulous way to make these time points clear: is the sun or the moon rising during the day and setting? Are there Christmas ornaments on street lights or are the daffodils just growing out of the soil?
  3. Shifts from scene to scene. An ultimate way to register time is by use of the time word in your scene changes. It can be as easy as, “The next day. . .” Or, perhaps you want to be specific: At precisely 8:20 am, Brian opened the front door. The time words at the beginning of scenes orient the reader to exactly when the event is taking place. It’s good to keep the reader familiarised. This means you are thinking like a writer.

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