Friday, September 9, 2022

The Art of Time in Your Book: Working More Consciously with Flashbacks, Backstory, and Pacing

I read The Art of Time in Fiction by Joan Silbers many years ago, when I briefly stalled out with the then novel-in-progress. Normally, I consider time and its shape in a story at the revision stage, but I've learned it doesn't hurt to have it in mind as the chapters are initially drafted. I found this book very useful for memoir as well--anything, actually, that attempts to tell a story along a certain timeline, moving backwards and even forwards, trying to keep the reader oriented.

Some writers find that better shape and smoother flow via plot work. Raising the stakes. Finding character motive. I use these tricks too. But there's also a real use to getting concrete about your timeline--especially if you feel you are drowning in pages.