Monday, October 4, 2010

Time Travel

Yesterday, I began reading Justin Cronin's The Passage. To be honest, I don't know much about the book. I know it's been getting a lot of buzz. But the back cover description went over my head and I'm not exactly sure what kind of story I'm getting into.

So far I've only read the first 18 pages, but I was immediately struck by the pace of the novel. Those pages alone cover 6 years. 6 whole years! As I read it, I realized that what happened in those 18 pages had enough meat for an entire novel.

It made me think a lot about the way we travel through time when we write. It's hard for me to imagine covering 6 years in 18 pages. My novel, Spared, takes 77,000 words to cover roughly 14 days. One of my favorite films, Before Sunrise, covers only 12 hours. Just a moment in time.

I wonder, how many of you like novels that take on a small period of time with that kind of excruciating detail? I tend to like them. But I also found it refreshing to breeze through 6 years at such lightening speed. It tells me that I am getting into something much larger than a moment. That I am going to take a much bigger journey. That's very exciting.


  1. It's great to not get bogged down by a load of history. However sometimes, books whizz through so much of a story, that it makes me feel as if I've missed out on learning more about the characters.

    Although the possibily that through a novel, you can go forward and back in time not only makes for interesting reading, but it's exciting too.

  2. Wow, that's pretty quick! I guess I like a slower paced book. But I read mid grade, ya and pb's mostly...

  3. Interesting question. I guess I like both the saga and the intense "all this happens in a short space of time" novel. But the more I think about it, my favorite books often cover more time. I've noticed in YA, the pace is much, much quicker, a brief span of time, but then you can't have the characters growing up . . .

  4. Great topic. I, too, am interested in short time periods. My novel (out in Aug), THE VIOLETS OF MARCH is set entirely in March in two time periods, present day and 1943. It was so fun to see the evolution of the characters in the period of a month. Thanks for stopping by the Deb Ball today! Fun to see you there, and good luck with the agent search. xo