Thursday, October 17, 2013

Damn Technology! and Time

More Computer Troubles!

The laptop, that held the typesetting program, bit the dust yesterday. It took with it MOST of my work in progress. Help is on the way. Until then I am UN-happily  at leisure.

by Steven Clark Bradley

Today, America faces enemies that make the world of the Cold War seem like much brighter times. In Patriot Acts, America finds itself under covert nuclear attack from the Islamic Republic of Iran which has linked up with radical American Militia groups. They have set aside their political and religious differences to carry out the widest attack to America in the nation 's history. Colonel Fisher Harrison, is the best trained Special Ops killer the military has, and the only one person who can effectively retaliate against their aggression.

Question from the e-mail:  Arline, I am writing a "Then and Now" story.  I remember you once warned me they were tricky to do and this one requires that I create a whole differnt time and culture. You were sure right. Any advice?

Answer: Well you can use time keys at the beginning of your scenes...

June 21, 1947
Clayton Falls, NH

School was out and the whole empty summer lay ahead. Eight-year-old Alma Clayton wondered how she'd fill all those long empty days.

"Come on, girl. Let's go to the library," Grandma said. 

and if you don't choose to use the time keys, be doubly sure that you cue the reader in the first line about the time situation.

Alma Clayton Peet looked into her great-granddaughter's eyes, remembering when she had been eight. Sixty-five years was a big, long gap. How could she explain to Leslie what it was like to live in a time before TV, before Cinnamascope, before plastic?  A time when sandwiches were carefully wrapped in waxed paper, not slipped into little plastic bags. 

Boredom had been easy to combat then, with a trip to the library. Staring into Leslie's disappointed young face, she tried to explain the absence of Wii, X-box, even Nintendo... The child had gone into deep shock when she realized there was no computer in the house.

Just make sure to use time transitions at the beginning of scenes. "Several weeks later..." Doesn't take up any more space on the page than "Sixty years later..." except in the mind of the reader. Just be careful to keep the reader cued in as to the passage of time and do it in the transitions as you set the scene.


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