Is there a difference? Time Travel, World Travel…it’s all the same to me.
Tomayto, Tomahto, Potayto, Potahto…
Time Travel, World Travel…it’s all the same to me
By Stacey Agdern
Time travel. World travel. In writing a book, they’re essentially the same. Both are all about separating the action between two different places and making sure the reader doesn’t get lost in the process. But how? Pictures above the chapters? Dates, times and places very clearly written in the margin? All of these things are done in order to make it clear both when and where the scene is taking place. They do help, but those aren’t the only things that writers do in order to ensure their readers are able to follow the story..
Both Ernest Cline in ‘Ready Player One’ and Lynn Kurland, in ‘All for You’, rely heavily on the reader’s sense of place. That means that they don’t change the way they write when characters travel between settings. So when Cline’s main character moves in and out of the virtual world the book mostly takes place in, or when Lynn Kurland’s characters travel back and forth between various times in English history, they are extremely clear about the sense of place. More specifically, the characters themselves are clear on where they are.
But debut author Beatriz Williams, in her book ‘Overseas’ and Lauren Willig, in ‘The Garden Intrigue’, the latest book in her Pink Carnation Series, change their writing styles to fit the change in setting. Willig changes hers completely -from first to third and from a very breezy contemporary style to the kind of writing one would find in the pages of a historical romance. The great fun of this series has always been the idea that you get two stories in one.
Williams doesn’t go as far, however. She keeps her first person narration, but the way she uses her words, the flow of her sentences and the use of description changes. It’s as if she realizes going back and forth between times, with the same characters, from chapter to chapter, will be difficult for readers to follow unless she does something drastic. So she does. And it works. Beautifully.
So what do you like best when you read books that move from place to place, time to time or world to world? Or does moving between time and space keep you from reading a book? Every week, 5 random winners win a FREE book, winners announced on Sunday- good luck!
Let me know what you think, and I’ll see you next month.