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JPC Allen Writes

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Daylight Saving Time

Writing Tip — Writing in Time

spring-awakening-w3132112_1280I will be blunt–March is my least favorite month. Occurring in both winter and spring, it comes out as a poor imitation of both, ending up as month with no real identity. February is irritating, but at least it has the decency to confine itself to 28 days in most years. March has no mercy, stretching out the misery to a full 31 days.

The events and holidays during March have never greatly appealed to me as a writer, but maybe I can provide you with some literary inspiration. Or maybe writing this post will spark something in my own writing.

Lent — Part of Lent is always in March. I find the introspection during this time depressing, but I try to make it an uplifting experience by giving up worry. I could write a story about a character doing the same thing. Because of Lent’s emphasis on sin, I think it’s a perfect time for a mystery, one about laying bare old crimes the most suitable.

Daylight Saving Time Check out my post last year on this day. It has great potential for speculative fiction.

March Madness — I am not a sports fan. But for those of you who are, the basketball tournament, with all its drama, could mirror the character arc of a player, a coach, or even a parent of a player.

St. Patrick’s Day — Teachers and librarians are always on the hunt for new children’s books associated with this holiday. I like the setting of ancient Ireland, and a friend of mine, Cindy Thomson, had written two novels during this time period, Brigid of Irelanand Pages of Ireland, and is working on a third.

Holy Week — This occurs in the last week of the month. It is such an important time in the Christian calendar and contains so much meaning, that it deserves its own post, which I will write during that week.

Do you like March? How would you use it as a setting?

Writing Tip

time-2132452_1280Daylight Saving Time

When I wrote about March as setting for stories, I forgot that Daylight Saving Time (yes, “saving” doesn’t have an “s”) occurs in this month.

The most memorable thing to me about the time change is to make sure I get to church on time the next day.  When my kids were babies and toddlers, it also meant a lot of work as I got them back on their schedules.

I have often wondered if I could use the time change as a key component in a mystery. One author did.  A short story from 1933, “No Man’s Hour”, written by Laurence Kirk and collected in The Third Omnibus of Crime, has a murderer trying to use the time change as an alibi but gets the times mixed up and is caught.

Before 2006, Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time.  Around 2000, my husband lived in Indiana and worked in Michigan.   Both were in the Eastern Time Zone but Daylight Saving Time meant an hour’s difference when my husband crossed the state line.  At that time,  Gary, Indiana, set its time by Chicago, which is in the Central Time Zone.  In the summer Gary would be two hours ahead of the rest of Indiana.  I know there’s an alibi in this mess somewhere but I’ll need a spreadsheet to figure it out.

For writers of speculative fiction, I think the time change is a possible trove of ideas.  What if people could bank the hour that is skipped in the spring, instead of using it in the fall?  A person could withdraw an hour or more whenever he needed it.  Robbers could specialize in breaking into time banks and selling hours on the black market.

Or what if during the skipped hour, people could time travel, anywhere they want but they would have to get back to their “home” time before the hour was up or be trapped for a year in that other time?  Historians would be out of jobs because all the time traveling would keep changing history.

What are your ideas for using Daylight Saving Time as a story component?

 

 

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