This thread is too good to sink into the depths of message board hell... I think it is very possible to write a story ala 24. Still, even in this case time is relative to writing and reading. Ten seconds could pass, for instance, in a Dickens novel and it might take him 54 pages to describe it. Or, a battle to end all battles could take place outside Minas Tirith and Tolkien seemingly spends a page a half on the good stuff. The closest I came to timing a story's speed was in writing a combat scene that I was writing to music. In this case, I actually have an official soundtrack accompanying the story and there are specific places in which to begin a song. The trick was writing the scene so that the best part of the song was being heard at the time the reader was at the corresponding part in the scene. It required many iterations of writing and then reading what was there to the music and, judging reading speed and ease of reading the content, to add or subtract in order to get the reader in roughly the correct time. I'm sure it's not always successful, but I think it's more successful than not. It's my firm belief that almost anything can be done through writing. I think you can actually get a reader to speed up his or her reading, slow him/her down, 'make' them feel the emotions you want them to feel, etc. Almost anything. Storytelling and craftsmanship are always intriguing and rush-inducing, the REAL challenge of what we do.