Tips from the Editor

Time Goes By – But It’s Tough to Measure Without a Clock

Most of us can’t get through a day without measuring time somehow. We need to be on time for work or school, to pick up kids, or meet a friend for lunch. Lucky for us, keeping track of time is easy. We’ve got clocks at home and in the office, and on the dashboards of our cars. Our cell phones can give us the right time at a glance.

But if your characters live somewhere (or are stranded somewhere) without those conveniences, there’s a problem.

Not for them; for us, as authors.

We waited two hours for the prince’s party to arrive.

It took us nearly ten minutes to climb the stairs to the tower.

Does the character have a pocket watch he relies on? Are the characters waiting for the prince’s entourage judging time by the movement of the sun?

We waited until late in the afternoon for the prince’s party to arrive.

Let the reader know how your characters are figuring things out. Make the situation real for them. Otherwise, you risk pulling them out of the story.

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