I just got some very good news: my agent likes my new book idea! Woo hoo!! But -- isn't there always a but? -- she had a very excellent question about when the action of the story takes place. I have a long jump from a moment of betrayal to the moment of discovery about that betrayal. It's 42 years -- a period of time which I thought gave the character's revenge more weight -- but which my agent suggests might actually dilute the power of the action.
My task in the next few days will be to examine what might be gained and lost by taking away the time lag and concentrating the action around the moment of betrayal. This got me thinking about the passage of time in a novel, and all the decisions you have to make about time. Here's a list:
- What is the backstory? What significant events happened before the story even starts? How will these inform the action of the story?
To read more about time in fiction:
This is a very informative article on keeping track of time from The Editorial Department
A scholar attempts to understand the passage of time in Anna Karenina -- though it might be better just to read the book!