Use of Time in Texts


So I’m working on my novel, sparked by the NanoWriMo challenge last year, and am about halfway through with it. However, I’ve come this part where I’m impatient for the ending.

So I wrote it.

In the middle of the story.

I mean who does that?

Well, I guess I do. Heh.

Then I got to thinking about the many stories, both famous and not, where the story’s timeline is not linear. I wrote a review about a book where time was almost irrelevant to the whole thing and was written in such a way that you were reading both the past and the present at the same time. Very wild. Incredibly mind-blowing. But I digress…

What is the point in writing a story in a linear fashion?

In Twilight, Bella began her narrative by telling us how she was dying because of her love for Edward. Then she began her story at the beginning, when she hadn’t even met Edward yet. She moves through time as she sees fit, revealing the ending before we, the reader, get there.

In the Game of Thrones series, time is told over the same period of time through different perspectives.

In One Day, time is skipped every year with a focus on only one day of that year.

The list goes on, but the point remains the same. Time doesn’t follow strict rules within books. Sometimes it’s important to know the ending before you get there or else the rest of the story makes no sense. Or, for dramatic effect.

Then there are books about time travel: Timeline, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Time Machine, etc. Where time is turned into a plot point—a medium to start the story with this belief that time can be conquered in someway. However, every story shows you that isn’t the case. Every story shows that, as much as you wish to control time, Time will always control you.

I’m not trying to get incredibly philosophical. I just thought about how relevant time is to everything within literature, in the office, and at home. Especially now, when I’m looking at the clock and know that I have to go to bed. Like, right now.

Stupid time…


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