Don’t you love words!
While finding time to write is always a challenge, writing about time is even harder.
Wending our way through tenses can actually make us tense, particularly when navigating back story.
What should be included and what left out?
How do we keep up the pace, and, more importantly, how do we fuse it all while reducing potential confusion?
We want readers gripped from the first word to the last. We want them to care for our characters; to hope, howl and fear with them, and then to cheer.
But as we weave in back story, clarity is essential.
We need readers to recognise our signposts, the significant moments that resound and resonate, adding layers of meaning.
They need to see the highlights, the tragic and sublime, from start to finish, carefully laid out in the most intriguing order.
If life is an open book, and if we can turn over a new leaf or page, we can also flip backwards, reviewing moments or millennia, reflecting on our past, adding meaning to the present, and building anticipation for the future.
The future? In fiction, it’s foreshadowed by genre; known, at least in part, to the writer; and revealed to the reader one word, clue, idea or scene at a time. Writers bend and blend action, always aiming for that credible, satisfying conclusion.
As a writer, I try to select, prepare and serve up exactly the right fractions of the action – enough tantalising tastes, in just the right sequence – to lead the reader to enjoy the whole extravagant banquet.
Be they presented in past or present tense, the scenes must build tension for resolving and pose plot puzzles for solving; so that all words finally dissolve at a most memorable end.
Easy? Far from it. Turns out, writing well takes time!
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