“Time Goes By” Panel Rivets Writers

Led by moderator Bill Fawcett, intrepid panelists A.J. Hartley, Leanne Renee Heber, Walter Hunt, Chris Jackson, and Philip Ligon shared how they conquered time gremlins in their writing during the “Time Goes By” panel, 11:30AM Saturday in Hyatt Embassy EF.

Fawcett led with commenting that no matter how varied time factors might be in books, it was sequential for us in the human word. He then asked if time has passed, how do you cover that passage when you begin the next chapter.

Hartley responded by quoting Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Just say that time has passed or jump into the next event.

Jackson replied that there are lots of tricks to cover short time intervals, but for longer periods, just mention time has passed.

Ligon uses seasons to show time has elapsed and Heber adds a statement underneath chapter tags to say how much time has passed. Hunt said that the 1632 series labels time and place. He agreed with Heber, it’s okay not to discuss time passage. This is not a deposition, but a narrative.

Fawcett next asked that if a book starts in 1951, how do you show this?

Jackson said mention a time-specific sports event and the players. Heber suggested including a memorable event with the caveat that the audience must be familiar with it to date the story. Ligon also uses history to establish the time frame.

Jackson said that Google music charts are a great help for setting the timeframe for scenes. Hartley added that describing a photo of an event can broadcast choice of year.

The panel continued to discuss topics that affect the handling of time in fiction, including flashbacks, interweaving dual timelines, and pacing techniques in different types of scenes.

The panel closed with a recitation of current work available by all of the participating authors including several relevant to the panel. Hartley described his 2022 release Burning Shakespeare as a “time travel romp.” Hunt had made notable contributions to the 1632-verse. In addition to dabbling with time in her already published fiction, Heber will soon make her non-fiction debut with A Haunted History of Invisible Women, co-authored with Andrea Jane.

Author of the article

Amy L. Herring (Louise Herring-Jones) writes speculative fiction, with a preference for historical fantasy and alternate mystery. Her stories, appearing in fourteen anthologies, include “The Poulterer’s Tale” in God Bless Us, Every One—Christmas Carols beyond Dickens (Voodoo Rumors Media, 2019). Amy is a NaNoWriMo co-municipal liaison. She also coordinates the Huntsville (Alabama) Literary Association’s writers’ group. Visit her online at http://www.louiseherring-jones.com.