Monday, January 18, 2010

As Time Goes By - Morgan Mandel

Time can change according to circumstances. Here are a few examples, which you may find true.

1. Lunch hours and breaks go by faster than the same amount of time spent in a dentist’s chair or at a doctor’s office.

2. At the beginning of a vacation, there seems to be a lot of time, but by the end, you didn't do everything you wanted to do.

3. Getting an agent or publisher to accept a manuscript can take longer than to write one.

4. A Facebook hour goes by faster than a synopsis hour.

5. The older you get the faster time seems to fly. If you’re still young, you won’t notice this right away, but it will happen.

6. Similar to the one above - What seems to have happened last year actually happened at least five years ago.

7. Busy people make time to do more, while those who are not busy can barely do what they already do.

8. If you quit your day job, you’ll find more time to write. Someone, tell me, is this one true? I threw it in as wishful thinking. It hasn’t happened to me yet.

9. Race against time – This occurs when I have a long time to get ready for an event, but then suddenly it’s upon me. It also happens in novels to heighten suspense. Will the bomb be found before the timer goes off? I'm sure you can think up other instances in books or movies.
10. Add tension by slowing the pace in a novel. Make time crawl so the reader can feel the anxiety.

In Killer Career, the heroine has claustrophobia. I draw out the climactic scene when she’s stuck in the elevator. Can she find a way out?

11. Quickening the pace and speeding up time can also add tension. Short sentences, less description, more action help the reader’s mind leap ahead and wonder what will happen next.

Do these examples hold true for you? Have you noticed anything else about time? In what way have you seen or incorporated time in a novel?
Morgan Mandel

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  1. Wow, great post. Time is amazing, Einstein proved that. This blog goes to show that even if we know time is mostly constant, it can change greatly in our minds.


  2. Yes, the older we get, the faster time slips by us.
    More time without a J-O-B? Hmmm... perhaps! I think it all depends on one's level of discipline and commitment. Busy people get things done, too. I don't have a J-O-B, but for me, taking one on now would certainly hinder my writing...

  3. Well, 30 seemed old to me way back when. Now I'm a little over twice that age.Time can be frightening at times.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. So true. I often think something happened a couple of years ago, only to discover I was off by many years. And the more time you have to get something done, the more time you waste, and then your time is gone.

    Straight From Hel

  5. Yep. Time is relative.

    As for #8. No.

    I agree with Helen that the more time one has, the more time one wastes. I suppose that's because one doesn't consider immediacy because it can be "done later".

    Unless there's a deadline.

  6. I had to laugh at that first one. These were all great examples.

    I'm constantly checking timelines as I write. It's easy to forget even though I have the general idea how much time has lapsed, the reader might not. For example in 9 months time a woman can be pregnant and give birth; or an individual could have served a 6 month sentence for fraud and has spent the last 3 months reporting to a probation officer. There are dozens of scenerios to fill that 9 months time. (Hugs)Indigo

  7. Good points Morgan. We need to be mindful of how time influences everything in a story.

  8. Oh too true and so scary in some ways. I can recall how it seemed like it took centuries to reach age 20 and now 20 years ago which doesn't seem all that long ago I was almost 40.
    When I was raising my kids I was so busy in their lives then all of a sudden they were all gone and leading lives on their own.
    Every day is a treasure, and we should enjoy life while its here. I never wish for a future day to hurry up and come because there is so much in the present to savor.

  9. Great post, Morgan. Sometimes we need a button to push to rush time but then when our time finally runs out, we're history so I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

  10. Loved the blog,Morgan. And yes, time does go by faster the older we get. Hmmm...I have never been able to figure that one out. Is it because we savor life more? To reach my goals, I always give myself a timetable. It works for me.

  11. I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. ~Mark Twain

    Who among us can't claim that "time got away" from us when we're deep in our zone, rolling with a story or characters.

    Wh can't relate to the profound immediacy of "time is of the essence"?

    Time, indeed, waits for no man or woman.

    Well done, Morgan :^)

    And there is no way you are as old as you claim! Seriously!

  12. LOL, Morgan!! #3 is *definitely* true for me. The waiting (and waiting) on hearing back about a manuscript seems to take YEARS--even when it only takes months ;).

  13. Interesting post! I think I have less time to write since quitting the day job six years ago. Marketing, in all its many guises, consumes more time than anything.

  14. Morgan, You hit the nail o the head with this one! Well done.

  15. Great post, Morgan! And I find just about all of these to be true. I can especially relate to #7. And it's true. As a working girl I was always being asked to take on one more project--and I did, and got it done. Now retired with no fixed structure to my days, I find myself scrambling to get even the most mundane things finished. Weird how that happens.

  16. Great post Morgan, and so true.

  17. Nice post Morgan. Time certainly flies faster every year. As for #8, I didn't find it to be true for me, but when I quit my day job, I had a newborn and a toddler to take care of.

    Working from home doesn't necessarily help the situation either. There's always something else you can be doing other than writing--whether it's business or personal.

    Making the time to write is something I think many of us struggle with. I am constantly amazed by my clients and friends who keep writing every day, no matter what happens. One day that might be me, just not yet.


  18. Another great blog. Time really flies for me when I am reading a well written book. It is so aggravating to look at the clock and see that it is 3 or 4 hours past my bedtime and I don't want to put the book down.

    That is what I hope happens to readers when I finally finish my book. Thanks for all your tips.


  19. MORGAN--loved these, and they're all true. I understand them all. Another one--the distance to a destination is shorter then the distance back. This happens all the time when we must drive to North Texas to visit my mother in a nursing home--it's 240 miles. We drive up, visit an hour, drive back home. The drive back is soooo long. Celia


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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