Word Dancing with Time
Updated: Apr 7
In this Word Dancing exercise we play with the possibility of exploring time. This is more than time that you keep on your watch, it is more of what can happen because of the time, the story emerges. As you consider your story, instead of deciding "what goes on next?" think what is happening in the story that evokes a time to remember. What is the present time of the story? How does the relationship of past time relate to the current moment of the story?
As you work with time in the story, the story takes shape. It can shift with story choices. Time can be evasive and inviting, even both at the same time. In play, we can put a spotlight on time.
The writer John Updike states, "Suspect each moment, for it is a thief, tiptoeing away with more than it brings." In play, instead of thinking about the "what" of the story, think of the when. However, not a generic place marker. but as much as you can muster.
Writer Jane Friedman states about writing about time. This advice can definitely apply to the telling process. "Everything that happens in your fiction should occur at the moment when it will evoke the greatest response from a reader. This means that even if your fiction’s timeframe begins at point A and then moves forward till it ends at point B, the story doesn’t need to progress lineally. Instead, your story should move forward emotionally, building momentum toward its climax."
(source: https://www.janefriedman.com/time-shifts/ )
This exercise examines the impacts, including emotional impacts that can surface as a result of your work playing with time.
In this video, I expand on the idea of Little Red by talking about the season but also the senses. We often neglect the senses when think about our story, but connecting the senses to when something can happen can provide a crisper and clearer picture of the story and how it moves across the time.
For this week try out your story and play with when the story and why this "when" is important. Can you change the "when?" Does it change the story? Play is about exploring choices, play with the when and the why will happen.
Let the story unfold as you talk out loud and use the senses to refine the story. You can find this activity and more in Playing with Stories.
Be sure to share with us your Word Dancing journey. We would love to hear about your possibilities with play