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Yeshanu
09-22-2004, 11:33 PM
I've been thinking about time this morning (seeing as how I don't have any) and how stories are situated in time.

One of my favourite sentences is from Richard Adams' Watership Down:


The primroses were over.

Four words situate the novel in time, without ever telling us an exact date.

Other authors do use dates, for example Tolkien in Lord of the Rings:


That very month was September, and as fine as you could ask.

(Did you know that today is Frodo's birthday? (Bilbo's, too.))

In The Hobbit, he's a little more vague at the beginning:


By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there ws less noise and more green, and the hobbits were still numerous and prosperous, and Bilbo Baggins was standing at his door after breakfast...

So...

Enough of the prologue. Here's the challenge:

Write a sentence or a paragraph that situates your story or novel in time. Be as precise or as picturesque as you like. For extra credit, try a style that's different than your usual one.

sqrrll
09-24-2004, 12:06 AM
The tears were still trying to wash away the ashes on the streets of New York

reph
09-24-2004, 02:08 AM
The potato crop failed that year, not just in our field but in the next field, and the next, and all the rest of the land. Yet, what could a man grow but potatoes?

(Does the challenge mean placing a story in time and not in space?)

Yeshanu
09-24-2004, 08:19 AM
reph,

It doesn't matter whether you place your story in space or not in this short excerpt...

I'd just like to challenge folks to try for time in this exercise. (We'll do place next...)

reph
09-24-2004, 11:11 AM
Junius wasn't too drunk to know he was done for as soon as he spilled half a cup of wine down the front of the emperor's toga.

maestrowork
09-24-2004, 06:09 PM
This shortest day was covered by silence, followed by the longest night filled with screams.

reph
09-24-2004, 11:41 PM
"Mom, are we having eggs and hash browns?"

Yeshanu
09-25-2004, 12:07 AM
It took us less than ten minutes to fill our bushel basket with tart McIntosh apples.

sugarmuffin
09-25-2004, 05:30 AM
The first backaching day of blueberry harvest always seems like the hottest day of the year, and sometimes it really is.

HConn
09-25-2004, 05:31 AM
It was the first of November.

maestrowork
09-25-2004, 07:04 AM
On May 23, 2004, I died.

lastr
09-25-2004, 07:45 AM
Little Johnny carefully placed the basket of flowers on the front step before ringing the bell and running away to stand next to the ribboned pole on the green.

maestrowork
09-25-2004, 08:36 AM
The little baby was born in a manger.

reph
09-25-2004, 01:39 PM
It was my kind of bar. The drinks were cheap, the lights were low, and nobody wore an "I Like Ike" button.

sugarmuffin
09-25-2004, 05:31 PM
BTW, Yesh, what a great idea.

maestrowork
09-25-2004, 07:43 PM
The women were naked, dancing around us in an ecstatic trance when Jimmy's "Star Spangled Banner" startled us. We screamed.

reph
09-26-2004, 12:26 AM
"Stop with that heroic ancestor stuff, Jim! I'm sick of it! You think you married down, just because your great-great-grandfather fought in the Vee-et Something War! Let me tell you, that doesn't make your family any better than mine!"

"Well, he did, Sheila. And they didn't have robotic infantry then."

YenadilPureheart
10-06-2004, 11:01 PM
It was just after all the leaves fell. That curious time in Ohio, when it is not quite bitter cold, not quite time for snow, but everything is already dead. It is a time that looks bleaker than the worst imagined armageddon.

Flawed Creation
10-17-2004, 07:35 AM
he looked down at the blossoming fields. there should be more flowers. where was spring?

maestrowork
10-22-2004, 03:40 AM
The last leaf fell.

auntiebebo22
11-06-2004, 12:08 PM
As we watched that great shining ball drop in Times Square....

peer54
11-14-2004, 04:34 AM
It was the only night of the year when real zombies, like Rick, could walk down the street without eliciting screams.

Betty W01
01-16-2005, 11:16 AM
As Sarah followed the marked path to the outhouse, a gust of wind made the ice-coated branches of nearby trees chime like tiny glass bells in a fairy tale.

souljoy75
01-16-2005, 04:36 PM
When my elephant began running to higher ground, I hung on and wondered why he was acting so strangely.

maestrowork
01-17-2005, 07:25 AM
The last cherry blossom had just withered when Mrs. Kawasaki passed away.

detante
01-17-2005, 09:56 AM
The birds had already started their morning chorus as Joe dragged himself home to bed. He hated those damn birds.

maestrowork
01-17-2005, 11:30 AM
Detante, you said "morning." You're not supposed to tell the time. :-)

reph
01-17-2005, 01:58 PM
Maestro, did you make up that rule just now?

maestrowork
01-17-2005, 09:09 PM
It's been a while so I thought that was the rule. I guess because I remembered this from Ruth's original post:


Four words situate the novel in time, without ever telling us an exact date.

I guess what I meant was that Detante could have dropped the word 'morning' and the sentence would work better (for this exercise).


But I forgot, for example, HConn's insightful entry that made the exercise moot:

It was the first of September.

:lol

reph
01-18-2005, 02:55 AM
This opening sentence does it both ways:

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" [George Orwell].

Maribel12
01-18-2005, 09:39 AM
The children were finally asleep and I headed to the kitchen for a late-night sugar fix.

Betty W01
01-19-2005, 01:20 AM
Nate took a deep breath and then began to cough, as the hairs in his nose froze into a solid mass.

(Hint: It's Ohio. It's January... http://pages.prodigy.net/indianahawkeye/newpage26/3.gif)

Yeshanu
01-19-2005, 08:00 AM
Could be here and now, too, Betty. (Here being a very frigid Southern Ontario.)

The frosty wind blew down the street, snatching the remnants of wrapping paper from the blue boxes lining the curb and festooning the bare branches of bushes with the glittering bounty.

msQTpi
01-20-2005, 12:31 PM
It was still light outside and too hot to sleep. The kids were climbing the walls, or maybe it just sounded like it. When was school going to start this year? It couldn't be soon enough for me.

For the tenth time I yelled, "GO TO SLEEP!", then headed for the Gin.

maestrowork
01-20-2005, 10:48 PM
The grapes taste fine, baby. We're going to have some good wine this year.

MrAngelwithnowings
01-21-2005, 04:30 PM
I did not find the ancient city my forefathers wrote about. All I could see were grey mountains of different sizes and peaks.

All was not lost however. I was pleased to discover an ancient sign of some sort with a peculiar writing on it. Part of it had crumbled to dust at my fingetips.

WALL STRE

StephanieFox
01-04-2010, 12:43 AM
Snow was still on the ground, but it was late enough for lambs to be born.

Ellefire
01-04-2010, 12:54 AM
Emma plucked the cardboard tubes from the grass and threw them at the dying fire, her ears still ringing from last night's colourful display.

Matera the Mad
01-04-2010, 06:08 AM
The sun might be ready to return from its long journey to the south, but tonight the cold fell hard and fast as stone; their fire danced to the crack and boom of ice drums.

(Hmm...I should keep that one...)

archerjoe
01-04-2010, 06:48 AM
It was too hot to play ball and the back-to-school advertisements were a sober reminder we'd be soon confined indoors.

StephanieFox
01-04-2010, 08:38 AM
As dawn came, workers arrived, ready to put the finishing touches on the stage where the man who would soon be President of the United States would stand and take his oath.

Nymtoc
01-04-2010, 10:59 AM
Millie wondered if something was wrong. The Cardiff to Birmingham, Derby and Nottingham always came through just as the water boiled, blowing its old whistle as if to chime in with the kettle's little one. But her tea had grown cold, and she had not touched her cake, for she had not heard the familiar sound.

StephanieFox
01-04-2010, 10:06 PM
The dog was barking frantically but at what, I couldn't see. The moon had already set and the sun had yet to rise.

Matera the Mad
01-05-2010, 06:25 AM
One bright star stood watch over the paling eastern horizon.