By Algernon Blackwood
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A writer of ghostly tales that have been compared with Poe's brings us his best collection of ghostly doings.
Story Time vs. Real Time
The best place to cue readers about the passage of time is in the transitions. Just make sure thetime transitions are at the beginning of scenes, where they are not likely to be missed. Remember, the first and foremost writer's sin is confusing the reader.
"Several minutes later..." Doesn't take up any more space than "Twenty 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 it is often best to do it in the transitions.
On the other hand, long passages of time when nothing happens to change anyone can lead to a feeling of tedium in your reader.
Also, it can be confusing to slip a time transition into dialogue, for instance. Look at the following scene:
"Will you marry me?" he asked, taking her arm as they strolled together down the lane lined with white oaks, dripping Spanish moss, toward the mansion where she lived.
"No." She pulled away and ran into the house. All he cared about was her money.
How long was the lane? How many minutes, hours? Days? did they walk together before she answered.
An easily missed length of time, especially if your reader tends to skip long descriptions, and quite unimportant unless other things are going on.
Was someone murdered in the house while they strolled?