Before You Submit: Time Qualifiers

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. This series contains hints and tips I’ve received from professionals in the publishing industry. Each week I’ll share a new tip.

This week I’ll write about Time Qualifiers.

The question is: do you need a time qualifier or not? You might want to use a qualifier for style, but you might not need it for clarity. The choice is up to you. I’m only giving you something to think about.

The following sentence includes the time qualifier, At that moment.

At that moment, Kendra heard rustling in the bunk above her. A pair of bloodshot eyes appeared over the edge of the mattress and peered at her.

Of course, this is happening at the moment. When else would it be happening? The easy fix . . .

Kendra heard rustling in the bunk above her. A pair of bloodshot eyes appeared over the edge of the mattress and peered at her.

In the example, I think the writing is faster and more interesting without the qualifier, so I chose to remove the first three words. Of course, I can’t take credit for the change. The editor suggested tightening the sentence and I agreed.

I hope this helps improve your writing.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.

Thanks for reading . . .

 

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4 thoughts on “Before You Submit: Time Qualifiers

  1. We write our books in present time . The at the moment would be needed more in a screenplay if you were writing an actors actions. “at that moment” or “as he turned to walk away” and other descriptions of time would be helpful to form the visual picture. AT least that is a dog’s opinion. Love M.J.

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