Describing time of day

by Clara

Am I doing something wrong with how I create a sense of time with my prose?

I have a professional free-lance editor to "clean up" my stories (I am a foreign born writer).

Her background is mainly in technical writing, and although I love how she edits my work, she drives me insane with her comments when it comes to exact time and dates in my children's stories.

I usually give days, or times, as morning, afternoon and evening to indicate when the actions are taking place. I also indicate the time of day in the setting - dusk, morning, bright sun, lunch-time, dinners - but she insists on technical descriptions.

I took a one year writing course with a well-known writer. I've been reading for the past three years tons of children's books, and I can't make it clear to her that it is within the setting - that words, not timetables, explain when actions take place.

Am I missing something here?

Thank you for your help,

Frustrated writer

Comments for Describing time of day

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down to the minute!
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Clara, it's hard to speak with any sort of authority without seeing the material, but it certainly sounds like she's applying a standard that she THINKS is a rule but isn't.

Why don't you find some well-known published work that handles time of day in a way that you know she would object to and see if she does.

It sounds pedantic
by: Jeremy Foster-Fell

I am struggling to think of a circumstance where exact times of day are required in a story. Battle histories, perhaps? Agatha Christie murder mysteries?

I can however think of a huge body of literature where the hard clock numbers are absent. This exact time absence would seem to be the rule rather than the exception.

It's hard to issue a definitive judgment without seeing your material, but it seems very odd advice you're getting.


writing about time of day
by: Anonymous

Examples of words you might use:

- birds' chirping a few minutes before sunrise
- just after lunch
- as the sun was going down
- late afternoon as the shadows grew long
- the sun was at its peak overhead
- shortly after dusk
- as the stars became visible

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