Sunday, May 15, 2016

The River of Time by Bob Krech

Isn't it interesting how time can be used in stories. I think immediately of stories where time is of the essence! The hero only has so much time to defuse the bomb, save the hostage, score the winning goal, get to the treasure, and so on.

I think of other stories where time is more leisurely. The story progresses at its own pace and the plot develops gradually, even casually. Time does not seem to be much of a factor. It passes, but we hardly notice. Time here seems almost like a backdrop of a play.

Then I remember listening to Richard Peck (A Long Way from Chicago, A Year Down Yonder) talk about writing at a conference. He shared about how since he was writing for children, he tried to think from a child's perspective. For most children, their activities, thoughts, concerns, and lives closely follow the seasons and holidays. September brings school and new teachers, classmates, clothes, books, sports, then comes Halloween and the huge decisions about what to be, where to go, who to go with, followed by Thanksgiving and football and food and relatives, and then, best day of the year - Christmas! Kids then have to trudge through January, February, and March to get to Spring, and baseball and games outside again, and the woods and fishing, and then wonderful summer and vacation!

In Peck's writing, the holidays and seasons, are much more than a backdrop. It seems to me he looks at a child's year like a river that they are navigating with special destinations along the way. These destinations are the holidays, the seasons, and special events like birthdays and weddings. When we write for kids, especially our middle grade readers, I think this is a valuable perspective to maintain.

1 comment:

  1. As I'm revising a manuscript, this is really good to keep in mind about what to cut and leave in. My pacing is T O O S L O W and I need to cut entire scenes that span more than a year. Thanks for sharing this Bob!