This morning, I get outside as the sun’s coming up. It’s pumpkin orange peeking out through the trees in the eastern sky. I decide to walk toward it so I can keep it in view until the orange disappears into the blue sky.
First thing out is watching the video lessons on one of my writing courses, Futures: Refresh. This is a business of writing course. I’m still learning about adding detail, so a business course is a nice pairing. And time is always an issue. I started it, fell off it for a few weeks, and am trying to get back on it. About 30 minutes on that.
It’s a really nice day out today, so I end up getting out in the sun more than once, including a visit out to a hidden gem trail. This is the kind of place you have to know is there because it’s not obvious from the road. Kept seeing cars parked on the service road, wondered what they were doing. Finally looked and discovered it was this amazing trail with Holmes Run a snake across the paths. Lots of runners, dog walkers.
It looks prettier in person than on the image. The sunlight created some very strange reflections. This mostly water. The tree branch on the left is actually part of tree roots washed out during storms. The islands cross the stream. Those are for the people. The water’s usually not too deep. If anyone is walking dogs, the dogs just run through the water. I often spot their wet footprints on the path.
I worked on and off on Superhero Portal. Adding more characterization and setting details. Sometimes I tend to focus on the goal of the scene—might even be leftover writing advice I need to exorcise. You know, that advice that says, “Get rid of anything that doesn’t move the story forward.” What does that even mean anyway? Robs the story of fun bits of characterization, scenes that show the character has a life outside of the story.
The additions are surprisingly difficult for me, so I keep pushing at them. I wander in and out of the story as a result, for about two hours.
In the evening, it’s my weekly writing meeting. An interesting thought occurs to me during the discussion, partially because I’m plowing through J.D. Robb (I’m on Book 25, and have read all the previous ones).
A lot of writers don’t handle time well. There are three times, the third being the one I made up.
- Story Time: That’s the time the story physically happens.
- Author Time: That’s the time the author takes to write the story. Sometimes these two can get mingled. Probably also why some stories don’t make as much use of the seasons because it’s hard writing a story set in June when it’s January and snowing out.
- Negative Time: This is the time not accounted for in the book. This one’s mine.
You’ll see negative time in book series. The author takes a year to write the book. So everything in the story happens in story time. Then the author writes the next book, which takes another year to write. A year has also gone by for the characters. Sometimes it’s not always obvious that’s what happened. The story time just feels a little off.
What I’m seeing with J.D. Robb is that there is no negative time. In the last book, one of the characters got hurt. In the current one, the author specifically says that the character has gotten back to duty after recovering for three weeks—and it’s repeated in several forms. We also get a little of the seasonal change for the time of the year, as well as numerous references to the overall time…it’s been almost two years since the main character met Roarke. It’s constant circling back to remind us of the sense of time and makes the story feel very grounded.