Writer’s Log: 1852, Time

* A Writer’s Level Four topic.

I picked up the axe and swung it as if I could split the world. It arced through the air and plunged toward the white aquiline neck that lay outstretched before me.

Only the day before, that same neck had twisted and her eyes had glared at me, her mouth wide with complaint. I’d tried to explain. She’d had none of it. She’d squawked and run off. Was it because of my previous indiscretion?

Yes, I’d been lured away, tempted successfully by another; a body so plump and inviting. So? I was the one in charge, why couldn’t I have what I chose when I chose it?

For that she’d condemned me.

But now she would pay the price.

The silver shimmer of my blade blazed in the sun. The thwock of the edge of my axe chopping her head from her body echoed hollow in the courtyard.

Her goose was cooked. I roasted her that night for dinner.


Time. Time is the forth dimension (ha), that writers must master. Can you spin time like a web, an hourglass within a glass within a glass? Can you spiral down though time and successfully unwind the twists of your temporal exploration to return to the here and now? That is the challenge. And the accurate tracking of time’s layers is the task.

Above, we start in the past, drop to a previous time and still yet again to a time before that. Four deep:

Now. Then. Before then. Before, before then.

Clearly such a skill must be mastered when scaling the massive temple that is the writing pyramid of excellence.

How are you at managing time in your stories? I suck. But, hell, I’m still on level 3.1. You?

5 thoughts on “Writer’s Log: 1852, Time

  1. Take the word “then” out of your toolbox. Have her pay the price AFTER the blade swings, right?
    I keep time with scene markers if I need to. Otherwise I keep it linear. Jumping back and forth has been done. Try it with shifting POV and your head will explode. There are other ways that don’t involve useless leading like then and when, two of the top 10 words writers don’t need. She’d condemned me (with her words) condemned my decision, my choices, blah blah. Something that relates to prior action. Tied together they create the timeline without “then”. Not busting your chops. Just .02. I have whined about dealing with time, particularly collapsing it, since day one. Precision.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thinking…
      The “then” was about the deepest time reference. I’m not sure it works with out the “then.”
      The blade was in motion the whole time. So her paying the price was struck in the first sentence.
      You are one hard task master.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As it reads, axe is in motion, backstory, motivation, result of motivation, price paid, end of stroke. Deal is not transacted until AFTER the sword falls. Technically. Otherwise it would price WILL be paid when axe falls. Great slo mo scene. Slightly out of order. The entire “then” sentence is weak because of structure. What is “then” referring to? A prior time with no direct contextual connection. If you can’t get past then and when time descriptors, try it as “it was then, her tongue on fire, that she condemned me.” You could stretch that with what sort of incantations, but it goes to squawking without an awkward and silly “then” stuck on one end or the other of a sentence.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OK, I see the PAID the price as an after the stroke. The point of the text was to mix time from three different slices — and to see if I could do it and that it came across.
          T1: Swing the axe
          T2: the day before
          T3: I’d been lured away
          T2: she’d condemned me
          T1: she pays the price

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You missd T! the axe falls. Isn’t 2 a subset o3 three as both are backstory prior to the current event? I ask because I almost missedthe point altogether as backstory is what it is. Had you written 2.3k or so and jumped from now to yesterday to yester-yesterday to now to the echoes of the dramatic act, that would do it.
            has some good bits, even peripheral, and you might study this
            tif for no other reason to be aware of it.There’s a lot of good stuff out there on handling time. The trick is do it welland not so often that it’s cliche. What you did was bakcstory, though. Here we are, how we gt here, consequences of the how. Cool. Great scene.

            Liked by 1 person

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