Week 3: Time

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« on: June 02, 2013, 01:06:08 am »
Quote from: Madness
The unfolding narrative and how it relates to timing/pacing.

This reminds me of an excellent segue - Chronos and Kairos:

"In chronos, each second, minute, and hour has a value equal to every other second, minute, and hour. Put another way, chronos refers to constant, unchanging time, scientifically measured and always the same.

But remember that last minute before the bell rang in grade school, when you watched the clock tick off each second? Time seemed to drag, didn't it? Or remember, conversely, how time just flew by when you were hiking in the Grand Canyon - or painting it? By the very language we use when we talk about such moments - "time dragged" or "time flew" - it seems that chronos, with its unvarying precisions, doesn't apply. In fact, it doesn't: Each of these instances is an example of kairos, which refers to the emotional experience of time, the way we - and by extension, our characters - feel about a moment.

The trick to managing time within a ficiton is to employ both chronos and kairos to their best effects. Your fiction's clock, which you set in motion when you establish the mind of your story, will continue to tick like a metronome in chronos. This means that the moments that matter most to your fiction will be the longest and most vivid. But when they're over, your fiction's clock - its chronos - will have ticked that much farther along" (The Mind of Your Story, p124).

Apologies to delavagus for any easter eggs I've hinted at here.

Now I cannot think of a better introduction to thinking about time in writing but I did not remember this passage when I was taking the course.

Ultimately, we worked on two passages of time. Fifteen minutes and fifteen years and how best to move across those intervals in a paragraph.

However, there was loads of preceding discussion on the variable ways to describe time passing:

Dream Time - Ineffable passage of time
Emo Time - Emotional time; probably best analogized to kairos above.
Chronological Time - probably best analogized to chronos above.
Historical Time - Let's compare this to Homer/the omnipresent narrative in Bakker's works.
Iterative Time - Repetition, as far as I understood it
Symbolic Timekeeper - The example used was a tree: how it grew from set of events to the new future present set of events. "At the height of the Ground War, the tree was thriving, lush and blue, the indigo colour of water. Now the tree sat dead" - at it's simplest.

Fifteen Minutes:

Five minutes, smoke, walking from the car to the building. Burning crimson all the way, one of my few guilty pleasures. Ten seconds, stash my butt in my bag. Fifty seconds, hardline the locks and pick codes. Fifteen seconds, resealing with my own passkey. Timer Set: 8:45. Minute forty three, incapacitate the guards. Light stun, Twelaki manufacture. Two seconds, admiring the heavy artillery. Two minutes and thirty seconds, whistling as I walk through sound sensors. Satisfying the complicated code, the vault hisses. Twenty seven seconds, the vault is open. A minute and a half, grabbing Spectrum Crystals. A minute, wiping the security drives. Thirty three seconds, revive the guards. Twenty seconds, wipe their memories. Timer countdown: 0:40. Running to the exit, sticking in the shadows, and wiped cameras. Hold. Three. Two. One. Door explodes in front of me. Exit. Drive. Fifteen minutes clean.

Fifteen Years:

The sun shone brightly on its greatest brother. The man sat, fully bearded, decked in flowing white finery, overlooking a single, simple reed cottage. He had cut and nestled the cottage into some thick trees along the north bank and then climbed the steep hills above the valley. The Void Sky opened above him and the deep gorge beneath him and he knew that here, finally, he could continue his task. Peace but for moments. He spent the first weeks simply breathing. Moments passed. Moss and lichen began to form on him. Months concentrating on his heartbeat. Grasses grew around him. Years with the infinity within. He was a rock, a tree, the ethereal landscape. In the company of wolves, he sat in silence, observant and afraid. It was there, with their eyes like glowing embers, the man knew he'd be made. The Void Sky wheeled around him. The sun and twin moons marked his passage. And one bright clear night, in the thick noises of the night, He awoke. To the large village populated and living below Him, as He knew it would be. Fifteen years.

What Came Before

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 01:06:44 am »
Quote from: Camlost
As Madness mentioned elsewhere, he and I had the privilege of taking a creative writing class together and seeing as he included his submissions I thought I would add mine as well. I happened to fuck up this assignment, which incidentally lead to the discussion of symbolic timekeepers.

Fifteen Years:
  Mark pulled up the dirt lane to the old family farmhouse. The grasses had grown high and the few trees now stood like indomitable sentinels guarding the dilapidated one-storey building. He made his way up to the weather worn porch that fronted the house, the wood now dull and rotting in places. He could hear the screen door dancing in the warm breeze, tapping its rhythm against the door frame. The boarded windows had begun to shed some of their binding planks, which now lay strewn about on the porch. Peering into the house through one of the less obstructed windows he could make out dried leaves skidding across the floor, carried by the breeze, and field mice scurrying away from his footsteps. Mark recalled when he had inherited the farm after his parents had passed away, even then the place had stunk of neglect, and he was the on to condemn the place and board the windows. Now, fifteen years later, the place veritably reeked of abandonment, a combination of mouse shit and forgotten memories.

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The grasses had grown high and the few trees now stood like indomitable sentinels guarding the dilapidated one-storey building.
  I debated editing that when I posted my paragraph, but it struck me as a useful example of the Every Other Rule:
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Every Other Rule - Describe every other noun, if you find yourself using too many adjectives

  And in the spirit of fomenting the burgeoning community of writers we have here at the TSAforum I thought I'd add another paragraph to incite or inspire some further discussions.

Fifteen Years:
  Half a life time toiling under the desert sun. He stood on the scaffolding of the half-finished monument, peering down on the crowded work yard. He had spent his youth watching his parents waste away under a foreman's whip, unable to do anything about it, and all for a neat pile of stones. As a young adult, he had stood on the sandy edge of the pit as his parent's desolate frames were cast into communal graves. And now several years later, he stood at another precipice, the scorching breeze against his cheek, his wandering thoughts inevitably straying back to his pregnant wife. Half a life time..

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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 01:06:52 am »
Quote from: Madness
I liked both, Camlost. Lol - just reminiscing about moments in the class. Hardly, fucked up, you inspired new perspectives. The new one is more on task though.

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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 01:07:00 am »
Quote from: Camlost
Maybe a bit closer. I was trying to use some parallelism to mark/pace the passage of time, I don't know if that counts as iterative or not though, as well as describe the futility of a slave's life. I also tried to set up the precipice to ambiguously apply to starting a family but also to ending his life before his child would experience all he had. Not sure any of that came across though.

There were some good times for sure. I think my favourite lessons were learned in the bar rather than the classroom though

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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 01:07:14 am »
Quote from: Madness
+1, buddy. Cheers.

Good to see your writing portfolio survives.