Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mastering Time -- by Jane Kelley

As I thought about how we manufacture breaks, I remembered when I first starting writing. I had no control of time. Character and events were all dominated by a minute-by-minute description of what was happening. If my heroine entered the room, she couldn't confront her nemesis without first walking across the carpet, over to a chair and sitting down.

Needless to say, my stories got bogged down by minutia. I was treating all moments the same. Somehow or other, I had to master time. I had to figure out how to gracefully shift back and forth between a clock and a calendar. To cut away. To compress. To know when to slow down and when to speed up and when to stop at the edge of the cliff.

It wasn't easy. But when I learned those techniques, I began to be a real writer and not a stenographer.

If only the power I have in fiction extended to real life!

Then I would always place a family vacation when I had finished a draft. I would never have a boring waits at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. I could magically compress those hours into a phrase or two. And that day at the beach could be savored. Each moment could be stretched until they numbered as many as the grains of sand upon the shore.

But if life really could be manipulated into art, would there be anything left to write about?

3 comments:

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    1. I'm still in the midst of figuring it out, honestly. I'm learning more and more that readers are interested in the story (rather than how it's told). I was always the opposite...

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