Did you know you could wield that kind of power? Why wouldn’t you be able to? You create characters from ink, visually rich scenes from words, and send readers hurtling through time on your creative whims. Of course you control time and space—you have to in order for the reader to fully experience and appreciate your storytelling and character development talents.
Think about how you always know where and when you are no matter what. Sure, we check our watches and road signs/surroundings, needing to continuously update that information, but in between, we never lose that sense of feeling grounded in time and space. When someone opens a book, they are embarking on an experience where they expect to be transported to another world and another time. They leave their real sense of time and space behind and open their minds to a new one. You have to build and maintain that new one to meet their basic need for always feeling grounded, even if on lunar time in a galaxy far, far away.
When do we look at our watches and road signs? As we move from one thing to the next. So as chapters change POV/location/time/activity, so does the reader need to check their watch and surroundings…
Tip: Make a pass over the manuscript just looking at the beginning of each chapter and after section breaks to be sure you have reestablished time and space each time it changes. Don’t be direct and obvious about it–bring it out subtly, so it’s more realistic. Imagine that we’re looking through the eyes of the viewpoint character in each instance and show the reader what they see, hear, feel, sense. We often update our sense of being grounded in time and space without even realizing it in real life. “Oh wow, look at that sunset over the mountains to the west!” she said with a huge smile. Boom, I know what time it is and which way the characters are facing. Grounded. See what I mean?