Lately, I’ve been concerned with the PLACE component in Time & Place. But locating a story in TIME is also an important factor in setting the scene. This is obvious in historical fiction, but I think the timeline in a contemporary setting is critical, too.
When—exactly—does the story take place?
Is it autumn in New York when the lovers take a walk in Central Park or is it a steamy day in July? Do the characters go to the Museum of Modern Art on a Thursday in the August—when it’s open late—or a Thursday in the October when it closes at 5:30? How long does it take to drive from Woodbridge, Virginia to Washington D.C.? When is the Florence Marathon held? (November 29 in 2015) When does the sunset in Amsterdam in early December? When does the season begin at the Sydney Opera House? And how long is the train ride from Brussels to Bruges?
It’s not hard to nail down the temporal details that add realism to fiction. It’s easy if you know the turf personally, but many of these facts are easy to find on the Internet. Of course one of the above questions would require a consult with an expert?
Which one? (see answer below)
(Driving time from Woodbridge to DC… Only a friend living that neck of the woods would have an answer and it’s qualified by the time of day, day of the week and seasonal considerations, too.)