6/5/12

By the Time

I'm still very intrigued by this whole time-limit factor. It resurrected when I read Miracle on 49th Street, an MG novel by Mike Lupica. It's a great story, akin to Game Plan {starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson} and Between Sundays {by Karen Kingsbury}. Basically--the daughter of an NBA star tracks him down and swears that he's her father {he is; she's not lying}. The rest of the story is their rocky relationship.

I love stories about reconciliation, so I thought the book was grand. But I noticed something that made it even better. Compare the two ideas:
  • Girl meets Dad, tells him how they're related. Dad swears it's not true, yet their relationship continues as she learns more about him and he comes to terms with himself and starts to love his daughter as she lives at a friend's house.
  • Girl meets Dad, tells him how they're related. Dad swears it's not true, yet their relationship continues as she learns more about him and he comes to terms with himself and starts to love his daughter as she lives at a friend's house. BUT, her friends are moving, and she only has until Christmas to convince him that she really is his daughter and for him to decide that he wants to claim her as his own. Otherwise, she'll be moving across the country and only see him on occasion.
The second one has the most tension, right? That's the one Mike Lupica used. A reconciliation story is good, but it can go on and on and on. Time limits force characters to make definitive decisions. They make it impossible for a character to be complacent. If Molly only has until Christmas, she can't take any of her time with her dad for granted.

As far as I can tell, it's as sure-fire way to up the tension. As evidenced:
"If he could learn to love another and earn their love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a Beast for all time."

    2 comments:

    Sky said...

    Extremely amazing post! I need to work on how to implement the "ticking bomb" idea into my stories. I already did in last year's NaNo novel, but the concept might be a bit too shaky and most likely needs some fine-tuning. (Thank goodness it's only the first draft.)

    I've been thinking about this with regards to my projects that are in the plotting stage. The only problem is my own self-doubts. There are a plethora of them, believe me. I'm pretty much afraid that my own ticking bomb devices are too cheesy, too suspenseful, or not suspenseful enough.

    Traci Kenworth said...

    Yep, time restraints definitely give that ticking time bomb.