Saturday, March 1, 2008

What time is it? A writer's minor nightmare.

Someone asked me recently what was the most irritating thing about writing. For a moment I thought she had asked, 'what is the most difficult thing about writing,' and I was prepared to launch into a long list of difficult things and let her take her pick. With this unexpected question, she had brought to mind one of those little irritating things, almost as bad as finding a tangle in your kids hair on 'picture day' at the elementary school. A lot of tiny things will drive the most level headed among us up the wall. We are programed to solve BIG problems, and the tiny things will drive us nuts. I encountered an especially irritating one when I was working on my last novel. The plot involves part of the characters -- located in Washington -- having to communicate with their counterparts in Israel. Different time zones, and as I continued to plot out the story, I discovered there was a larrrrrrrrrrrrge problem with one group in bed while the other group was in the middle of their workday. Most books occur in the same time zone, or at the most, involve two people having to communicate across no more that the width of United States. I found myself having to work out the current time in both places with irritating frequency. Then I ran across a website at that listed all of the major cities around the world and the current time. Today, with increased travel and so many of our friends and loved ones in uniform, this might be a good link to write down and keep handy. A lot of people aren't really happy at being awaken in the wee hours of the morning.

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