The phrase ‘Time is of the Essence’ normally implies that it’s necessary to get something done quickly, but for me it has another meaning too: the handling of time in a story line. it’s so easy to take this for granted when reading books by other authors, but it really is an important consideration for a writer. In a recently published work, I had to jump back and forth between two different timelines, while also ensuring the story ran on seamlessly. I did this by pursuing a particular theme and line of thought.
Time really is of the essence
As I continue to read through my current work in progress while conducting a first edit, I am dealing with a story that unfolds in chronological order. For novellas one and two in the first series, the events take place over a period of a few days, then some weeks elapse between the end of the second and start of the third. Next there are wider gaps of time between key events taking place. Meanwhile, for the characters themselves, time really is of the essence, in order to achieve a plot that works well!
The passage of time
It’s therefore essential for the writer to keep a close check on the time frame, in order to make things flow naturally, and be constantly aware that the passage of time is communicated clearly to the reader. As with all creative projects, an element of underlying discipline is necessary to make things work smoothly.
While I’ve kept a close eye on the time frame during the actual writing process, I have now, as part of the editing and checking routine, constructed a timeline in my notes, which I will be able to easily refer to and also build upon for the second series.