But when it comes to story, time is a lot more than an excuse to head to the kitchen for lunch – it’s urgency, a deadline, structure, stress, excitement, necessity, pressure, drive, constraint, dilemma. It’s CONFLICT.
Sometimes elusive, but always sought after, conflict is the one thing your story absolutely must have.
Consider this scenario: Jane has a job interview. She spends the night before preparing her resume, gets up that morning and puts on her lucky suit, and takes the train to the city. Does this story excite you? No. There’s no conflict. Jane has a goal, but there’s nothing in the way.
Now consider this scenario: Jane has a job interview. She spends the night before preparing her resume, but when she gets up that morning she realizes her alarm didn’t go off and she overslept. She has to race to the train but misses it. She has to find another way to get to the city in time for her interview. Is this better? Yes. The time constraint put on Jane and the obstacles in her way carry the plot forward.
If you find your story lagging, add a time constraint. Create a deadline. Start a clock ticking that forces your character to take action quickly, action she might not have thought through completely. See what happens next.
Until next time!