I’ve been thinking that, in fiction, all time is subjective. I’ve been thinking that the passage of time in written work is indicated by the amount of prose assigned to an event. A battle scene is not fought in “real” time; it’s fought in story time. And story time is relative to the length of the tale. In a short story of 1000 words, a 200 word battle scene is a longgg time. In a novel of a 100,000 words, a 2000 word battle is pretty short.
Writers dedicate story time to those things they find interesting, or at least to those things they think readers will find interesting. I personally enjoy reading battle and action scenes, and I tend to lavish a pretty fair amount of prose on those in my tales. On the other hand, I don’t believe I’ve ever had a character go shopping for clothes. I’ve seen works where story time has been spent on that activity.
In thinking about books I’ve read recently, mostly noir/crime novels, I can tell you that most story time has been dedicated to violence and sex. The violence often involved some kind of criminal behavior, of course, but mostly the writers dwelt on violence in defense of self or of innocents. The sex time was primarily spent in people trying to get it, and much less in actually having it.
Two other things that writers spent story time on were eating/drinking, and driving. The eating and drinking generally involved rich, delicious foods and fine wines or liquors. There was a clear sense of pleasure about these acts of consumption, and some of the descriptions were tied into sexual aspects of the story. The driving was often associated with the violent aspects, but there was at least some time spent on the aesthetic qualities of automobiles. I found that interesting and I don’t believe I’ve ever spent much time on this topic in my stories either, although somewhat more than with shopping.
One thing that almost no story time was spent on was bathroom activities, other than a character or two throwing up. No time was spent urinating or defecating. I’d have to say that most of my stories follow suite.
What about you? If you write, what do you spend most of your story time on? And as a reader, what do the authors you read spend their story time on? I’m curious.