Wednesday, June 19, 2013




Handling the passing of time in your novel doesn't have to be tricky.

Most of my novels take place over a relatively short period of time. A week or two. Sometimes a month. When I'm writing the first draft, I keep a timeline beside me. I list the days down one side of the page, eg Wed June 8. When I finish a scene, I make a brief note beside the date. Some days will have three or four scenes beside them. Some days are blank.

Is it okay to have nothing happen for a few days? Of course. You don't have to tell what your character does every single day.  Or every moment of the day. If it's not important what your character ate for breakfast, skip it. You should only write scenes that move your story forward.

The time line helps me keep  track of where I am. It also prevents me from making mistakes - something happens on Monday and four days later it's only Wednesday. Readers will pick up on those errors.

Another bonus of the timeline is when you are finished you will have a neat summary of the story's action on one or two pages.

Our horse Dylan
 who was the inspiration for the pony Lucky in The Way Home
There are lots of phrases you can use to pass time:

the next day
a few days later
that afternoon
two days later
the next week
by the weekend

Another device is to leave a double space on the page - that indicates to the reader that some time has passed. You can do that several times within a chapter.

Remember: If it doesn't move the story forward, leave it out.
Some advice from Alfred Hitchcock!

Drama is like real life with the dull bits cut out.


Ida B . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster and (Possibly) Save the World  by Katherine Hannigan

This book is a lot of fun! The voice of Ida B is engaging and chock full of personality.

Amazon Review:

Ida B. Applewood believes there is never enough time for fun. That's why she's so happy to be homeschooled and to spend every free second outside with the trees and the brook. Then some not-so-great things happen in her world. Ida B has to go back to that Place of Slow but Sure Body-Cramping, Mind-Numbing, Fun-Killing Torture—school. She feels her heart getting smaller and smaller and hardening into a sharp, black stone. How can things go from righter than right to a million miles beyond wrong? Can Ida B put together a plan to get things back to just-about perfect again?




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