I have to confess, I haven’t done a lot of writing, or editing lately. This last week I finally got my hands on all of Dick Francis’ “Sid Halley” books, and I’ve been reading them in order for once. I’d read the first four (it seems his son, Felix, has written a fifth, which I haven’t read yet either) but I’d never read them in order, which frankly could be confusing since all the subsequent ones mention things that happened in the previous ones. And I’m slow reader – this may take me a while.
The thing is, I should be editing. I know I should be, but I haven’t done it in a couple of weeks, and it isn’t just reading taking me away from my computer, I’ve also been doing crafts. I have a site on Etsy now, and I opened a page on Facebook for the crafts. Not that it’s gotten my very far, it hasn’t, but I thought I’d try since every little bit would help now that I have a car payment to make.
Yes, that’s right, I finally have a car again. I’m mobile. Which is another reason I haven’t spent much time on my computer. I suddenly seem to not have enough hours in a day, when before I had too many. I’m still adjusting to this new reality.
There were a lot of things I wanted to be able to do but couldn’t because of the lack of car, now I can do them, but never seem to have enough time.
The biggest problem is not trying to do too many things in a day, because that would be too much stress. Most people would consider a busy day as a mile long “To Do” list and several appointments. Konnie considers it a quiet day if she can get on her computer and write for ten uninterrupted minutes. For me, more than two things on my calendar, and I’m spent long before the day is done.
Today I have two things on my calendar, and I have one on my calendar tomorrow. Yesterday I had two things, the day before – the only thing on my calendar was chores, and I haven’t finished those, so they are still on my “To Do” list, but I wasn’t counting chores, because let’s face it, they are on our “To Do” lists on a daily, or almost daily, basis.
Being as I live alone, I don’t have to do most of them daily, but anyone else would have to do those more often.
And all that brings me back to an earlier post I made about figuring out how much time a character is taking. When mentioning a span of time that has past, and all that the character has done, make sure they had time to do all those things.
If you say a character did A, then B, then C in X amount of time, when it takes a normal person that amount of time to do just A, you have some rewriting to do. And that’s the problem I often have. My characters are either speed demons, and or super human, or both. They can get more done in a single day then I can get done in a single month sometimes.
Then again, a master chef can chop up and prepare a lot of food for cooking faster than I can gather the tools to do the job. For me, it might take me at least an hour to dice a couple of onions and peppers, but someone who does it daily would take a matter of minutes. Skill, and practice can aid someone in doing some things faster than others.
And again, you must consider how motivated a person is. I’ve gotten more done on days when I absolutely had to finish in order for something else to happen, or in order for me to do what was next on my list. Like the day I packed up my car and went over to my sister-in-law’s place of Christmas. Just gathering what I needed to take took time, getting it loaded in my car was another matter.
And all of it took way longer than I thought it would.
Actually, I thought gathering everything would take the longest, which is why I started the day before, but what took the most energy and time was loading my car. I had to stop and catch my breath several times.
So, skill level, amount of practice, and motivation can change how long it takes your character to complete a task, just make it clear to your reader why your character can manage it.