It heals all things.
It is a conqueror.
It is of the essence
It stands still.
It is fleeting.
It is an illusion.
It can be begged, borrowed, or stolen.
It can be lost, found, or wasted.
As writers, we all are well aware of time. It can be one of our biggest pains in the derriere. There is never enough of it, it seems, so we must constantly be aware of how we manage time to write, time to research, time to market, and time to be human.
We fight time, sure. But, we can also use time to our writing advantage. Understanding the value of time and an awareness of time in our writing is an essential and learned skill.
The classic story structure, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, is a timeline. We, as readers, are pretty much hardwired to this three-part structure and the most satisfying stories we consumed usually follow this structure. Certain narrative things happen at certain narrative times and we expect it. We’ve been grounded in this timeline for stories. We can use this structure of a linear time scale to help us create resonance in our stories and connect with our readers.
Another integral function of time is pacing. Pacing/timing can be an effective tool in any story, but is especially important to middle grade stories. Finding the proper beat of the story keeps it flowing in rhythm and helps establish the essential middle grade character voice.
At the other end of the writer/time spectrum is an awareness of middle-grade time and how it differs from the adult time. Perception of time changes with age. My 50+-year long view of time has to be reigned in and corralled when the perspective of a 10-year-old is what’s necessary. This can sometimes be a tough thing to do, but it is also a very rewarding thing to do. We get to step outside of our “oldness” and be a kid again. Do you remember time as a kid? Completely different from the hustle and bustle of adulthood.
For the old man me, time ticks by like flaps of wings, in rapid succession always moving forward. When I was a kid, time had a life of its own. Sometimes it flowed like ice-cold molasses. The slow drag of the school year or the long, dog days of summer, or waiting for the holidays. Sometimes time was a snap of a finger, like at recess or lunch, or skateboarding down the big hill at the church. Sometimes it even seemed to stand still, like night swimming or fishing with your Grandparents, or getting the game-winning hit.
So remember, time is on your side.
Use it to its maximum potential in both your creative works and when you’re working creatively.
Speaking of time, it’s time for me for get back to work on this draft.
Because, as the saying goes, “Time and tide wait for no man”. Nor woman. Nor middle grade writer.