Time, the theme of this issue of Mason’s Road, is a fundamental element of fiction writing. While the characters and plot drive a story forward, time acts as a powerful parameter within which the characters and plot move. It is critical for writers to take time into consideration when crafting their stories. The writer must determine the time period of the story, which is part of the setting; the time spanned by the story, which can range from minutes to millennia; and how the passing of time is revealed, such as the aging of a character, the occurrence of holidays, or the ringing of a bell.
A story’s pacing is affected by the framework of time in the piece. Writers must develop their characters in an appropriate amount of time, taking into account such aspects as the time required for physical or emotional healing to take place, or even for legal proceedings to conclude, as mentioned by author Rachel Basch (Degrees of Love, The Passion of Reverend Nash) in her recent interview with Mason’s Road. As Rachel says, time can be so crucial as to be considered a character in a story. Time may also be used to set the mood of an entire piece, such as compressing it to create a sense of urgency.
Writers have many ways to play with time, including slowing down a scene through the use of flashbacks, or using concise summary to move quickly to the next major scene. Playing with the chronological order of events is often an effective way to reveal a character’s story.
In this issue of Mason’s Road you will read about how one woman regards her body through the passing decades, in the story “Lessons in Breathing”, and about the decisions another woman makes in the space of one evening, in the story “Three, Four, Five”.
We hope you will find the fiction and the rest of this issue enjoyable and inspiring!
Carolyn Brown and Allison Kirk