Putting Your Story in Temporal Motion

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Putting Your Story in Temporal Motion

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People are attracted to motion, particularly physical motion. But when describing a setting, some things are pretty resistant to moving. Houses, mountains, trees, and so on remain static. You can work around that problem. You can put things in motion around a house, for example, or you can describe the motionless object using metaphors or similes that provide an illusion of motion.

You can even talk about your character’s emotions, their changing feelings about a thing, and create an illusion of motion that way. For example, you might have your narrator to say, “Charlie had always hated pubs, with their smell of spilled ale and stuffy tobacco smoke, until he entered the Hart and Hound, and found a place that somehow reminded him of a home he’d never had.”

One great tool for bringing a place to life, though, is to give it a sense of temporal motion. By that, I mean that we might talk about its past or its future, as well as its present. For example, in describing a car, you might say, “The pearlescent sheen had faded from Mark’s Maxima. After seven years, he no longer saw the car as it was, but as he remembered it, gleaming white on the lot, with motes of blue and sparkles of red deep beneath the wax, so that when you looked at it, you couldn’t help but feel that you were peering into it, and seeing that the soul of the machine was pure and glorious.”

Do you see how we described the car as it was, comparing it to a duller present? We can even take it into the future. “The new car smell was gone, even to the most discerning nose, and all that was left in the cab was a waft of aging leather, a tinge of sweat, and the sun-baked vinyl of the dashboard. Someday soon, the car would begin to smell of its own decay, like an animal’s corpse. Even now, Mike could sense it coming, and it was a dull ache.”

When describing anything—a setting, a character, or even a conflict—consider ways that you might bring that thing to life by describing both its past and its future.


I will be having my Write that Novel workshop in Indaianapolis, October third and fourth. In that workshop we will cover:

- How to Make a Great Living as a Top Fiction Writer—Find Out Why Some Authors Are Always Broke While Others Live Out Their Dreams

- Secrets to Writing a Bestseller Through Wide Audience Appeal

- Personal Insights Into “Why Your Readers Read” that Will Almost Magically Sell More Books

- A Simple Diagram which Reveals Exactly Why and When to Step on the Gas in Your Plot

-Nearly a Dozen Inner Circle Secrets to Make Sure Your Books Hit on Bestsellers’ Lists

-How to Avoid the Deadly Opening Flaws which Prevent Most Authors From Getting Published

-Virtually Unrevealed Techniques for Guiding Your Readers “Into the Rabbit Hole” as You Explore Your Story’s Mysteries

-Of All the Ways Your Story Could End, Learn Which Grand Finales Are the Most Powerful, Satisfying and will Keep Your Readers Coming Back For More

-Why Publishers Don’t Have Time to Edit Books Anymore and How to Make Sure Your Manuscript Shows Up at the Publisher Virtually Flawless

-Having Worked as a Hollywood Producer, David will Walk You Through Secrets to Selling Your Film Rights and How to Maximize Your Income on Any Movie

- Tips for Eliminating Writer’s Block and Other Obstacles so You Can Keep Turning Out those Golden Eggs

- Nearly a Dozen Inner Circle Secrets to Make Sure Your Books Hit on Best Sellers’ Lists

- How to Make Sure that Every Book Comes Out Better than the One Before

- The Four Most Vital Keys to Writing a Bestselling Book or Movie

- Five Techniques to Exploit an Intellectual Property in Hollywood and Around the World

- The Right Way to Introduce Yourself to Editors, Agents, and Movie Producers and How to Get Yourself in Front of Them

- Is Writing Really Your Easy Path to Wealth and Fame? The Truth About the T.V. Image of the Lavish Lifestyle of a Successful Author—Here’s How Success Can Be Achieved, But Don’t Buy Into Some Pipe Dream. It’s Real Work

- Writing Tricks that have Turned Struggling New Writers Like J.K. Rowling Into Global Sensations

- The Ins and Outs of Self-publishing

- Why 98% of Wanna-Be Authors Fail . . . and more.

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