RT Convention! This is just one of the fun reader parties I'm participating in.
So, our Bordello Topic of the Week is 3 Hours, 3 Days, or 300 Years: How Do You Choose & Use The Passage of Time?
As always, that "choose" word amuses me. I like it though. I envision myself gazing into a fire thoughtfully, perhaps wearing a cardigan with leather patches on the elbows and with a notepad on the table beside me, next to the snifter of brandy. I frown as I contemplate the timeline of the novel I'm working up, envisioning the sweep of the story, how many days or years it should take to play out and.... Who am I kidding?
This is so not me.
So far, every single time I thought I was going for a long timescale, it hasn't happened. For example, The on-screen events of the three Twelve Kingdoms books (so far) take place over the course of just over a year. A jam-packed year, for sure. When I proposed the books? I envisioned them being something like ten years maybe. Now I'm adding two more books to the series and I might make it another year into the arc. We'll see. But again - who am I kidding?
I'm a fine-scale writer. Probably because I'm a character-driven writer and I love to focus in on detailed conversations and slow-burn epiphanies. I love to have that stuff on the page and to linger over it. Because that's the trade-off - if you want a larger time-scale, more stuff has to happen off-screen. It's a necessary sacrifice. I recently read a book that I loved, loved, loved - and yet, a number of events happened off-screen that I felt cheated by missing. I *wanted* to live those moments. In that case, I think the author could have made the choice to include some and I'm not sure why she didn't.
In other cases, it's not so much of a sacrifice to lose the boring, daily stuff. Much as I love Jacqueline Carey, she once dragged me through innumerable pages of a long, excruciating journey through monsoon rains. Yes, she made me live the misery and it's obviously stamped indelibly into my brain. But... really, Jacqueline?
I suppose that timescale of the story is ultimately a tradeoff between velocity of the plot and believable character development. In romance, in particular, the worst transgression of this kind is the "insta-love." In fantasy... could be the too-easily resolved defeat of the hero? I dunno. What do you all think?