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Missing Time

Sometimes, the hardest part of writing is publishing - if that is the path you choose. When I was in college, wiser heads than mine reminded me that it wasn't easy to be published, and I should try some other avenues first.

When I started submitting my novels to publishers, they suggested I write for magazines first to develop a name. When I submitted stories and articles to magazines, they enjoyed the items, but weren't looking for anything at the moment.

The Bridges of Lyon. France, 2015
All of this is wise and wonderful advice, but difficult to navigate a particular path. What I wish someone had told me was to focus on the missing time. The time where nothing happened in the novel's storyline, but time passed. The story that everyone knows, but happened before the novel's timeline.

Missing time is a spot to develop story ideas either into shorter stories or novellas. It's the murky part of a story where characters and events happen, but not within the context of a novel. It also can be a wonderful chapter in the novel which doesn't quite seem to fit the story, and is taken out during editing. On a side-note, the whole aspect of removing chapters is an excellent reason to save previous versions of stories because you never know when an old idea might develop into a new one.

In the science-fiction and fantasy genres, especially if new worlds are being created, another aspect of missing time is the remainder of the world. For my one series, I began creating a world with a variety of inhabitants. Several of the kingdoms within the world have stories of their own which are being developed. Go to the local bookstore and see the myriad of novels connected to Star Wars and Star Trek.

Even in historical fiction you can take minor characters and have them tell their story. The best example of this would be Diana Gabladon's character of Lord John Grey who plays a fairly important role in her Outlander series, but also has several stories on the side. He's an important character, but not always right beside the main characters.

In essence missing time is a good place to develop shorter versions of stories to focus on character development. It can also be something to help you restart a previous story that has stagnated, or it can be the mine where you can find the story to publish and begin your process of being a published author.


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