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Saturday, February 17, 2018

The When of Your Story - Janet Lane Walters




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I’m continuing to explore writing a book from the idea to a finished story. The first thing I look at is When.


There are six elements you need to have in your book- Who are the characters. What is the goal the characters want to achieve. When is the time the story takes place. Where is the place where the story takes place. Why is the reason the characters want to achieve their goals. How is the road they take to reach their goal.


Today, I'm looking at the when of a story. When the story takes place is very important to the writer. Let's look at the number of whens that go into a story.


When can be the century. The story can take place any time from prehistorical times to the future, The time period of a story can help create the story. I have a series set in an ancient alternate Egypt. The when had a part in determining the alternate world part of the story. I learned there were no camels in Egypt until around one AD. My story was set in BC centuries before. Thus I had to change the focus of the story.


Many of my stories are contemporary and what happens in the world around is important. I seldom mention the political events but looking at the medical advances is important.


So century does have an effect in a story and often means research.



The time of year, the time of day are all important when writing a story.


Seasons come with various events. Think of the holidays. If you've chosen fall, you might consider Halloween and Thanksgiving in your story. The weather of each season is different. Winter usually brings short days, long nights and cold weather, that is if you're in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, seasons are the opposite and nearer to the equator the seasons may seem to be quite the same.


Then one should look at the months. Is your story set in January. Where I live this often brings a thaw in the middle of the cold weather. Each month has different weather and different events taking place. Keep these in mind when you're writing. I'm working on a December story. Snow and Christmas figure in and make me remember these events.


Now weeks in a story is one way to advance the story without detailing every event in the character's life. Two weeks later something happened. The story has moved forward.


The days of the week often mean different things. Monday is usually the day one returns to work and may show in the character's mood. Friday, we all know TGIF. So think of what day of the weeks your character is experiencing to add some depth to the character.


The time of day. Night can be spooky and can also be a time of love. Morning and evening can bring different things to your character. Suppose your hero or heroine is a night person and they must be some where at sis Am. This can show in their mood and also have them see things they haven't seen before.


So remember to look at the when of the story from the century to the least minute when you write your story.


When helps in other ways like choosing the genre or sub-genre of the story. When helps you build your world. All stories need a world built so pay attention to the when.

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