Telling Time in Your Story - Deepstash

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Create A Timeline

Create A Timeline

Tools you can use:


75 reads

Stating Time Directly

Stating Time Directly

  • Use the date and time as chapter headings or subheadings, e.g. 2 August – Two days before the eruption; Conticinium [04:21 hours] (Pompeii, Robert Harris)
  • A character can glance at a clock or watch. This action builds tension when the character is working against a deadline. This technique works in detective and thriller stories when the protagonist feels the pressure of the clock ticking. 


49 reads

Using Events As Time Markers

Using Events As Time Markers

  • Use references to story events, both past and future, e.g. The train leaves in xx hours/days
  • Mention that an upcoming event will happen in xx weeks


49 reads

Transitioning To The Next Scene

Transitioning To The Next Scene

  • Use transitions as time markers.
  • Short transitions: 28 hours after Mike received the telegram / the next morning / that night
  • Longer transitions: The following month/year


42 reads

Using Seasons As Time Markers

Using Seasons As Time Markers

  • Incorporate seasonal details: rain, snow, heat, blooming trees, falling leaves, etc.
  • Use seasonal events such as sports and festivals. For example: Andy switched from track to cross-country skiing as the days shortened / the upcoming new year


38 reads

Using Natural Daily Activities

Using Natural Daily Activities

  • Eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner
  • Heading to school or work
  • An evening cocktail 
  • Children playing after school
  • Returning from school or work
  • Getting ready for bed 


37 reads

Using Distance + Adding Details

Using Distance + Adding Details

  • Indicate distance of a destination + means of travel, e.g. 2 days by foot, car, horseback, etc.
  • Indicate the character's response to travel, e.g. tired, cranky, invigorated at the journey’s end


33 reads

<p>For each story event, inclu...

For each story event, include the time of day and weather details. These details will ground you as you are writing the scene and help readers understand the passage of time in your story.


34 reads



Time is part of setting, and you need to let readers know what time it is in your scene.

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