Sunrise or sunset?

January 26, 2010 at 5:35 am (Setting, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , )

A while back I was writing a short story just to get myself back into writing and I had one of my characters hung (poor guy). However the hanging was held at sunset and that didn’t sit really well with me.

Maybe I’ve just watched too many movies or embraced too many clichés but it seems like hangings should take place at dawn.  That didn’t really work because the point was for the guy to die at sunset with the end of the day, end of his life, kind of feel because the next dawn then brought about a new sense of awakening.

So I scrapped the idea of sunrise or sunset and hung the guy at noon but then I started wondering what sort of person would stand out in the sun in the middle of the day just to watch someone die?

As you can imagine I managed to um and ah and change the story so many times I ended up putting the entire mess to the side in a file of other abandoned stories that I’ve managed to talk myself out of writing.

However, I started thinking about different time of day and events I associate with them.

Sunrise: People wake up, roosters crow, things wash up on beaches.

Noon – People fight, people sleep, villains appear.

Sunset – People die, people have romantic dinners on the beach, bugs attack, evil begins moving.

What do you associate with the different times of day and do you ever go against that when writing?


  1. Elizabeth Spann Craig said,

    I do sometimes dump a dead body into a morning scene (and afternoon, actually.) I have a lot of action going on in mornings in my books…a reflection, I think, of when I do a lot of my own work. Also, I’ve got a character who is an insomniac (also like me), so I have scenes in the middle of the night…that makes life interesting, too!

    Mystery Writing is Murder
    Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      My characters tend not to do things in the morning – which is odd because that’s when I like to do things. It usually takes my characters half the day just to get organised enough to do anything so most of my scenes end up being during the day or evening.

  2. AlexJ said,

    Funny you talked yourself out of the whole scene!
    I think if mornings as alert and when action takes place – evenings are for exhaustion.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I did talk myself out of the entire scene which is a shame but I don’t think my heart would have been in it if I had kept it.

  3. Crystal Clear Proofing said,

    What an interesting topic! We do have a tendancy to associate certain things with a time of day, don’t we?

    Actually I like your reasoning for hanging the guy at sunset. There’s hidden meaning there and I really think you had a good thing going with that. Get that back out of the drawer and hang the poor fellow at sunset! 🙂

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I think sometime in the future I’ll have to have an execution of some sort at sunset but it won’t be a hanging. I’d really have to talk myself into the idea though.

  4. Carol Benedict said,

    Mornings for me are a time for reflection and hope.

    Midday is time for working and accomplishing things.

    Evening is a time for rest and sharing life as a family.

    I think those things are probably reflected in my writing, but I hadn’t thought about it before.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I like your associations, particularly evening being a time for rest and family. Thanks for sharing.

  5. barbaraannwright said,

    Midnight has long been associated with magic.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      True, and moonrise though I think that would be harder to work into the story because the moon comes up at different times.

  6. Jemi Fraser said,

    Much of the mayhem in my steampunk ms happens at night – but I have thrown in a few scenes at unexpected times. Lots of fun!

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Night is always good for interesting sequences but sometimes it is fun to throw something that should happen at night into daylight, just to see what happens.

  7. Jonathan Danz said,

    Other than coffee first thing, I don’t know. I do know that I often go all George Costanza and go for the opposite of what I think I ought to do. If nothing else, it keeps it fresh and interesting for me as I write. Sometimes it also opens up new possibilities. Thanks for the post!

  8. Corra McFeydon said,

    I’ve never really thought about it? For me the story just plays out, and if the hanging happens at noon in the story, that’s how I write it. If it’s a historical piece and the hanging is documented, I go by the history. If I’m making it up, I’d likely go far enough to research when hangings happen…

    I feel like you might be over-thinking this a bit?


    from the desk of a writer

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      I know I’m over thinking and I generally do that when I’m not convinced the scene is working anyway.

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