I was thinking about chronology and narrative today. As writers, it's easy to think about plot or characters as our greatest creation. However, I thought to myself, actually it's chronology that is the most creative element of storytelling.
For example, I will construct a plot where events are sequential and create a causal link between one moment and an action. However, in real life, these links are either subjective or non existent. We might convince ourselves that action and event are related but in truth this is our ego speaking.
The linking of two moments in time is a conceit, an extended metaphor. Surely they are linked solely because of our sense of self and need to bring order to the world; we make a link that would not exist without us constructing it. As writers, we exploit this in the sequence of narrative and the placement of events; even the most autonomous characters still merely act to create a plot.
In both my reading and writing, I am most happy when nothing appears to be happening. This style is often described as gentle. But, listening to people in everyday life, I have noticed that small moments are very powerful for people. They respond and react to little things, such as the odd look, gesture or word. These events are hardly standout in most fiction genres but I think, by including them in my work, they give me the freedom to explore the real nature of chronology. A handy offshoot is the ability to write about character rather than event which is allied to plausible experiences which happen to us all. My last aim is to also develop as unique a plot as possible.
What I have concluded was that the bigger the action, the more conventional the plot; because time is so closely managed it removes characterisation as the central figures become mere puppets. An example of this might be Jurassic Park. A thoughtful exploration of the nature of the human condition as it collides with chaos descends into a plot that can be effectively reduced to "Run away, the dinosaurs are coming!"
I would like to believe that reading this blog will change your life. But then I know that time doesn't work like that...