Keeping track of time in a story is obviously important. It can also be extremely hard to do. When I wrote my first novel, I didn’t keep track of time very well. This is one of the reasons it is still sitting in my “needs to be edited” file. I tried really hard though. I wanted everything to happen over a period of days or weeks. I’m not sure I even accomplished that.
It’s funny how time can get away from you in a story, yet in reality we are always checking the time. At least I am. I am always watching a clock, or checking my phone for the time. There is always things that need to be done by a certain time.
At work, if I open the store, I start 10 minute breaks at 11. Everyone gets a break before the lunch crowd. And I try to have at least one batch of freight out by 12. That never happens, but I do have that set goal. If I am closing, I stop stocking at 6 to start cleaning the store and I make sure everyone has a break before 7.
Life is almost centered around time. We have set times to be awake, to go to sleep. Some people set a time for showers and baths, or set a limit to how long they will take in the water. We set times to leave for vacation, or work, and appointments. Time is just always there.
Yet, when you sit down to write a story, at least when I do, all of time is forgotten.So how do we keep track of time in a story? THIS article gives a few suggestions. I remember being in school writing out timelines. Maybe this is something that needs to be incorporated into my writing as well, sitting down and writing a timeline. Of course, this could all go along with writing an outline…which I have never really done for a novel either.
So tell me, writers of the world, how do you keep up with time in your novel? And do you think it is really important?