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Tips for writing about Time

When we think of setting for a story we usually think of the place but setting also includes the temporal ( time ) setting.

Giving the reader a sense of the time period will help draw them into the world that you are creating.

You can do this through the technique of show rather than tell.

Here are some ideas:

Describe a character's clothing that matches to a specific time period

Put your character into action using a technology of the time period.

Sensory hints help in scene setting too. They may listen to the latest music, catch glimpse of famous person, or smell a food.

Put things in context. A character might refer to news of an historic event that has just happened or is about to happen.

AnachronisM: belonging to a period other than that being portrayed

A tricky thing, if you are writing a story from the past, is making sure that there is nothing anachronistic. So that means no technology, clothing, food, casual dialogue that doesn't fit the times. A Roman gladiator can't check his watch. A character from the 1930s is not going to say 'Chur, bro'. No rap music before the 1970s. You will need to do a little bit of research and maybe get someone to be a fact checker.

If you are writing a future story you have a different challenge. You will have to decide how things we use now will have changed. This doesn't mean you need to explain too much. Use detail instead. We won't need to know exactly how the flying shoes [insert other fabulous technology] work as long as we experience them through your writing.

Of course, if you are writing a time travel story you can have fun with deliberate anachronisms!

Check out all the details for our Write On "What year is it?" story competition. Entries close October 23rd

© Write On School for Young Writers 2020


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