The relationship between time and story structure is complicated. If your time span is too short, your pacing can feel rushed, while if it’s too long you can lose tension, stakes, and momentum. We’ll examine how to get time on your (narrative) side. We’ll dissect how time interacts with structure, character, and thematics in classics such as White Noise and Under the Volcano, and do generative exercises that grow out of our findings. It’s an excursion into an essential yet largely overlooked element of the storyteller’s art.
Michael Shilling is the author of Rock Bottom, a novel published by Little, Brown. The musical adaptation of the book was staged in 2014 by the Landless Theater Company. His stories have appeared in The Sun, Fugue, and Other Voices.