Killing Time: Part One



Several methods exist in fiction for showing the passage of time--from subtle to not-so-subtle. Here, Chuck glosses various approaches while highlighting his preferred method.

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Murasaki_Ducky's picture
Murasaki_Ducky from Austin, Texas is reading Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan. October 14, 2015 - 5:56pm

@Phil: Don't know if you found the answers you were looking for but here's my two cents: learn from every source possible. I'm taking this slightly out of context from my late English professor. Granted, when he made this statement, he was referring to grad school and education in general but I believe it still applies. He said that if we really wanted to be well-rounded, educated individuals, we should go out and experience life. If at that point we decided to go to grad school, he told us to get away from our school, to seek our Master's in a different city, different state if possible. He asked us how we expected to grow if we stayed in the same environment with the same stimulus? 

I think if we want to be "well-rounded" writers, we should learn from as many different authors as possible. With time, I think we'll naturally feel compelled to follow after the teachings of a select few authors but ultimately, if we continue our journey as readers, we will learn from the successes and failures of other authors. 

Phil Sykora's picture
Phil Sykora is reading Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck October 8, 2014 - 8:43am

I'm really enjoying these essays.  I've always battled with the idea of studying fiction as a craft just because I like to follow Stephen King's rule of "read a lot; write a lot."  And that makes perfect sense, but he also said something along the lines of "you don't need any books on writing."  Which I kind of took as: don't read anything about craft.  Just learn it on your own.  But the more you know about the nuts and bolts of creation, the better.  Sometimes I think Stephen King gave that advice just because he couldn't put words to what he intrinsically knows through years of practice.

This brings me to a question I have for anyone reading this:

Is it better to try to find a mentor like Palahniuk did with Spanbauer, and then break off from that mentor (like in Robert Greene's Mastery?) or to take in as much information from as many different authors as possible until you've developed your own unique style?

Someone please answer.

JamestheBaker's picture
JamestheBaker from Oregon is reading The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein January 15, 2012 - 7:25pm

Fantastic essay. Will take this with me for sure.