Welcome back to world building, Part 5! Even if you don’t use a calendar to date your chapter headings (like the case in a lot of historical fiction), it’s still a good idea to have a calendar to keep track of events and holidays. Luckily today’s blog will be short since there isn’t toooo much to a calendar. 😀
- Lunar Cycles
- Births, Deaths, & Pregnancies
Well, first thing is first. You need to determine the length of your calendar and divide it up into months, weeks, or days. If your book takes place on earth, or your new planet follows the same yearly cycle as our own, this part’s already done. Otherwise, if your new world is a different planet in size, location, etc., then you need to do a little science and figure out the length of a year and divide it up. If you don’t use months, you’ll need another way to identify individual days. As of our own calendar, we identify the day by the month and day of said month. If you have no month, are your days just going to be day 247th of the year? If you don’t want to do hard science, just remember the closer the planet is to the sun the shorter the year, in general. Hopefully an astrophysicist won’t check the science (I’m counting on it XD).
Once again, if you’re following our real world example, the holidays are set for you. If you’re building a new world and calendar to go with it, you’ll need to implement holidays. Look to your folder on religion for some inspiration. Is there a day where someone was martyred? An important figure was born? Depending on what country your story takes place in, there can be independence holidays and remembrance holidays for large battles where lives were lost. There can be holidays geared around the seasons too, such as the first snowfall or harvest. National, seasonal, and religious are the holidays that dominate our calendars, but of course if you want an international holiday of french toast, be my guest!
Maybe instead of four seasons your planet has six! Or they have a summer that lasts for four years in a row. Consider your planet’s placement in the solar system and rotation. Just remember, in all honesty, just about any scenario you can conceive is always plausible in the multiverse. Be sure to mark the official beginning and end of each season on your calendar.
To be honest, I wasn’t really sure where to place this in my world building series. I think figuring out the lunar cycle could take up an entire blog post by itself. Maybe one day it will, but until then I’ll go over a brief glimpse of what I mean. When I was writing my book, I had many scenes taking place at night. I eventually realized that in the real world, there can’t be a full moon every night! So, to begin, figure out how many moons you have. I had two, and so I used the lunar cycle of our own moon as the model to base the cycles of the others off of. You can extend or shorten the cycle however you wish. It would be affected by the placement of your moons from your planet. Mark down what point in the cycle the moon is at on your calendar. You’ll find having a new moon on some adventurous nights add to the action!
Not just wedding, but death and important events. In real life, people note the anniversary of their parent’s death. Or the day they met their spouse. What anniversaries would affect your characters? If your character’s pet goat took an arrow to the face on a certain day and it haunts him forever, write that sucker down on the calendar. Odds are he’ll at least take a moment to think about it.
Births, Deaths, & Pregnancies
Depending on how important each is in your world, it doesn’t hurt to write these down on the calendar. Some cultures don’t celebrate birthdays. Maybe in your new world you have to do something particular on the death of a loved one. These would tie in with anniversaries to a degree. Pregnancies need to be kept track of. If a character gets pregnant the normal gestation period is 9 months for the average human being. Of course this can vary per race if you’re making a world with several, but that makes it even more important to keep track of who, what, when, and where. You don’t want someone pregnant in March giving birth in June. Since pregnancies can also heavily affect a character’s physical abilities; the further down you go the more they are inhibited and could affect your story.
Until Next Time!
A calendar is an amazing tool to have and doesn’t take much to draw up. Whether on paper or in excel, you can keep track of important dates and time periods. It really helps with immersion. In our own world we live by calendars, so why would any other be different? As usual I’ll edit if I think of more aspects.
Added 04/04/2016 World Building Part 6: Map Making
Added 04/18/2016 World Building Part 7: Culture
Added 06/13/2016 World Building Part 8: Floor Plans & Architecture
Added 10/24/2016 World Building Part 9: Creatures
Added 11/21/2016 World Building Part 10: Science!
Added 12/12/2016 World Building Part 11: Medicine
Added 01/09/2016 World Building Part 12: Names