Current Release

Current Release
The Warrior's Viking Bride

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Two types of time

There are two types of time both in novels and in real life. There is linear time which is measured through the ticks on the clock and there is emotional time which is filtered through a person's emtional state. Of the two for the novelist, the second is far more importnat as a novel never happens in real time. It always happens in emotional time. In times of stress and great tension, time appears to slow down. When you are relaxed and happy, time speeds up.
For the novelist, to replicate this state, it means she should expend the greatest amount of words on those times when time appears to stand still (ie those moments of high tension). In other words, unless there is tension in the scene, skim over it. Don't allocate the word space. Low tension indicators include: drinking or eating food, travelling in a car, dating. I can hear the screams now -- Dating, but isn't that what romance is all about? NO, romance is about emotional tension combined with sexual tension. When people are dating, they are relaxed and happy. time speeds by. It can be lovely, but unless there is another source of tension, the reader is also going to want to skim. In order to make a scene worthy of spending words on, the tension has to be there and the emotional clocks have to be slowed down.

I first read about time and its problems for novelists in Vanessa Grant's Writing Romance. Donalad Maass alludes to it in his low tension scene problems, but Swain has a really good section on the nature of time.

I know tonight if the Rugby match is close, it is going to take an eternity. But hopefully England will be able to dig down deep. And India, the Hexham Courant has a photo of Jonny just before he went off to the World Cup. Personally I think he looks better with slightly longer hair...

2 comments:

Julie Cohen said...

Yes. My thing is that I tend to put the two types of time together, and not bother to make a day pass without something emotional happening. This is why my books keep on taking place within the space of, say, three days. I seem to have an allergy to saying "Several days later..."

India said...

(Me too, Julie...)

I'm also in agreement about the lovely JW's hair, Michelle. To be fair he's probably a little more preoccupied with kicking than hairstyles, which is why I think it would be a great idea to get in touch and offer our services. Personally, I have utterly nothing better to think about than exactly how to make him look as hot as possible...