Theresa Weir (a.k.a. Anne Frasier) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of thirty books. Her memoir, The Orchard, was an Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the October Indie Next List, a B+ featured title in Entertainment Weekly, a One Book One Community Read, Target Book Club Pick, and Books-A-Million Book Club Pick.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
WRITING-KEEPING TRACK OF TIME
About those two days...
Large passages of time slow the narrative. Sometimes kill it dead. Even a time jump of two days, because reader is once again distracted. Why two days? What happened in that two days? Anything? Even though it's unrealistic for important things to take place hours apart, you have to condense. You should avoid realistically boring dialog, and you might want to avoid realistic passages of time. While you are framing a story, time should be a part of your foundation and plan. If for some reason you need a large passage of time, you'd better figure out how you are going to deal with it and explain it without killing the pace and flow of story.
And that brings me to me. When writing my memoir, passage of time has been the biggest problem. I deliberately avoided time markers because I wanted 20 years to appear to take place in a single season. But without the markers, we have confusion. But with the markers, we have a large span of time, something I detest. So I'm trying to solve this problem. The story itself is very condensed and distilled, very sparse, so it doesn't lend itself well to broad and epic time sweeps. Thought I'd solved the whole problem with the single season idea, but it's just not working. Structure, structure. I will figure this out.