I’ve been thinking about time frames lately. I’ve read books detailing the lives of entire families, and I’ve also read a book that took place in the space of one day. (When I say “time frame” I’m talking about the main events of the story, not including any flashbacks.)
Most of the time frames for my novels span about 10 months’ time. That’s because they usually include a little romance, which takes time to develop. Romance feels unrealistic if you rush it. Since they’re YA, most of my novels take place within a school year, which usually runs from August to May – another reason for that 10-month time frame.
The shortest time frame I ever used in a novel was one month. I can’t seem to write a novel with a time frame shorter than that. Perhaps those kinds of time frames lend themselves better to short stories. I’ve read one particular short story (Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain”) where the main events took place in the space of a few seconds, which was genius.
The length of time it takes for the events of the story to take place is apparently dependent upon the story, but I find myself comfortable with one certain time frame.
So my question for you is… do you find yourself using one set time frame? Are you comfortable with longer ones or shorter?