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To all you writerly types out there, and maybe if you can't answer you can think of who can: (Readerly types feel free to chime in.)

I'm writing a novel that is very time-sensitive. Think '24' without the crack. Think The Da Vinci Code (which I may just have to re-read to see if I can learn a few pointers). The action takes place over one weekend, and is pretty much constant unless all the characters are sleeping. So far I've gotten away with being semi-vague in references to what time it is, just throwing them in when I need it to be a particular time of day or night.

But, here's the part that's throwing me for a loop: how do I know exactly how long a scene will take, if for example I need to make reference to what time it is now, and what time it was when a certain past scene took place? Do I even really need to be that precise? With Dan and Tyn I can get away with being vague, but Link would keep track of such things.

Like, how long it took to talk to somebody, then drive somewhere, and all that.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
I'd be inclined to read the text they are saying aloud, allowing for pauses and thoughts, then say, okay, it's 15 minutes drive away...so that plus the talking, etc.?
I'm not talking from experience with what I have written in my fics, but yeah...lol
Feb. 19th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
I think I might try that. That, and actually drive around the city with a stopwatch. LOL.
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
Shall I start calling you Ianto now or later?? Also, I don't think you have to be that specific... Not unless you really really need to... We can chat later when you get home...
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 24th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
Thank you!
The idea of acting things out and driving around seems to be a popular one. Also, it does sound like fun. I think - or hope - that for most things, I can just be vague. I just don't want to have something so far-fetched that it will jar somebody out of the story. Like when Jack Bauer makes it across Los Angeles, during rush hour, in 5 minutes.

Thanks for the feedback!
Feb. 24th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
If you want to be very precise with the length of scenes and dialogues, try writing in screenplay format. Then you'll get exactly one minute per page.

There are some rules about formatting screenplays, but you don't have to buy expensive screenwriting programs, a template for word will do the trick. Like this one:

Good luck!
Feb. 24th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Timesense
That's an idea. Work-intensive, though, but might be worth the attempt if I focus it on any specific scenes I might need to time out. Thanks!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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