Time in the Story Line

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Time is critical to a story. Mr. Truby lists it as the fourth major element behind natural settings, man-made spaces, and tools in the construction of your tale. Before we dive into the pool of time and how it is used, I need a refill of my cuppa and something to nibble. I have been hard at work on editing Time Thief, researching vacay ideas that don’t involve much travel, and an idea for a future blog/contribution to another website…busy, busy, busy.

You know the deal– go get that much needed refill for your empty cuppa, raid my cabinets for a nibble, or the breakroom’s fridge, just don’t get caught, then meet me out on the reading rug. I will bring my copy of The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. I recommend you bring (BUY) your own copy as well. Lots to cover. Tuck in and turn to page 184.

The Fallacies of Time

Are YOU a Judgy Judger? — YOU Can be a Somebody

This is the– it’s a whole other time and place so we can’t judge the characters by our current standards. This is common in historical fiction. It is the time frame when mistreatments of certain classes, sexes, and races was acceptable. Withholding judgment of these characters is ridiculous. We should judge them and ourselves as a form of comparison. Mr. Truby has an outstanding grasp of this idea.

There are two ways to use this comparison. Negatively- what are the values of the past that still hurt today. Think of stories such as The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible. These were hardcore outlooks on morals that no one could hold true too. Yet, to this day we will still judge people for things outside of their control. Now there are positive ways to compare the past to the present. Stories of honor, duty, and loyalty are still powerful to this day. Military service stories fall under this idea.

1984 -Virtual Production - Plano - North Texas Performing Arts

The fallacies of the future in the timeline are common in science fiction novels. It’s believed and practiced that futuristic based stories lean toward “predictions” on what the writer believes will happen. We have seen this firsthand. Remember the rush a few years ago to build hover boards? Yea! That was so we were within the same timeline as Back to the Future. We also wanted to see if the world looked like it did in George Orwell’s 1984.

One notable fallacy for futuristic stories is that they are about and set in the future. Nope. When a story is set in a futuristic timeline it is solely to give the reader a different set of glasses to see the abstract plot clearly. It’s the – “Oh, It’s the future and that’s why it’s that way.” Fun right. Cool. You can write anything set anywhere and any-when. Don’t ask my opinion on these things cuz you won’t like it.


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Changing the seasons in your story shows time moving. For example, if your scene opens with your characters at the beach jumping in the waves, we know it is summer. As the story moves you show leaves falling and then Christmas trees. At that point we know your story moved six-ish months. Do you have to announce the seasons? Lawd, no. Show your reader the seasons without telling. Summers are filled with heat, BBQs, bathing suits and fireworks. Spring is all about growth. Show us the flowers popping up and rain showers. Fall (my fav) is filled with pumpkins, leaves, Halloween and so on.

Aging GIFs | Tenor

Seasons can also be a way of describing a person’s life cycle. When they are young you say they are in the spring of their life. It’s the cycle of birth, growth, and on to death. This is a gradual steady pace. If you take this to the negative side, you can show how people are bound by the forces of nature and time. Spring is the season of birth and shows our weaknesses. We cannot survive without the assistance of others. Summer is our crazy, heat filled time in our lives. It’s the time we are growing into who we are and will be in the autumn of our lives. Autumn is when we come into our own and (sometimes) figure out who we are and what we want in life. As we grow older, we become weak and dull as winter does. Ta-da! Life in the seasons.

The Single Day

Do I really need to tell you how to work a single day into your story? Sunup, things happen, and then the sun goes down.

The Perfect Day

Um…the same as above but awesome, amazing, and wonderful things happen during the day.

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…Don’t forget…it must end somewhere. Every story has a ticking clock. Page one, word one starts the clock of your story. You are now working to get to the point when the stories time runs out. Birth to death. Meeting to marriage. Crime to jail or freedom. Tick, tick, tick. Know where your story ends. It will help you create your plotline. Knowing where the story is going makes it easier to plan out your novel. When I first plot a story, I work on the opening and the ending at the same time. It is easier to fill in the middle when the bookends are in place.

Gotta love time. I waste it far too much.

Ready to find out what we will look at next?

Story World Through Structure

Until next time my friends…

Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.

Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.

Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.

I’m always looking for new friends!

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Author: Ticia Rani

I am...interesting. I am a writer, dreamer, mom, wife, veteran, friend, villain, and the wearer of many hats, but I don't look good in hats- go figure. I LOVE TO WRITE. I want to tell stories. I want to make you laugh, cry, and scare the crap out of you, and make you ask "why the hell did you do that?" I want to make you cheer my characters on or want to shake the crap out of them for things they say and/or do. I want to bring you along for the ride. Ready? Set?...READ!!!

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