Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Wonders of Time

So if you've read my last blog post, you'll know that I'm undertaking the mammoth task of reinventing the world my book is set it. I'm changing/adding religions, cultures, geography, place names, history, etc. But one of the most exciting (well, actually kind of boring if you're not a geek) things I'm adding in is a new calendar system!

Blown away aren't you.

Yeah I knew you would be.

So if any of you millions of people who read my blog (or 90 total page views to be more precise...) would like to read about a specific example of 'worldbuilding' from me, you are in luck. Seriously, this one is going to be awesome.

Introducting... *drumroll* ...the next evolution of fantasy time system... *gasp* ...known only as... *silence as everyone holds their breath* ...the Defonese Calader!

"Erm... wha?"

Defon is a nation in my book. I like how their name sounds. Because of that, it is one my favourite nations. So I decided to be nice, and let them be the ones who made up the calendar system used by almost every nation in the north of my continent. So what I went and did, was I decided how many hours would be in a day, how many days would be in a year, and how often a leap year would be.

Hours in a day: Roughly 23 of our earth hours.

Days in a year: Roughly (lol) 378.1111111111111111

This all adds up to roughly the same time as an earth year.

Because of that .1111111111111 there would be a leap year every 9 year (unless I've buggered up my maths  again... Since my GCSE's I've just forgotten how to count!)

So this got me thinking. Why don't we make a bigger deal out of our extra day in February? It seems like something that ought to be celebrated really, but we just ignore it for the most part. It's probably because it's tucked away at the end of a month, not long after new year, so no one really cares.

"Oh look," generic person says, "It's February 29th. Is that the extra day? I can't remember. Oh well, back to non-existence I go now that Ian has no need for me any more."

But imagine if the leap year day was the first day of the year. Now then it would be a big deal. It would be seen as more of a cycle, the start of a new 4 years (or 9 years in my books case). Hmm... Cycle. I like that!

So here's where I decided to do something radically different to our Gregorian Calender. I decided to remove decades, and replace them with Cycles.

Here's an example for you. We are in the year 2011. If I were to set my book in the year 2011, I wouldn't call it that. I would call it 223c. 4. 

The fourth year the the 224th cycle. Yes indeedy!

(and in case you are confused why it says 223.c yet I said 224th cycle, think of it like centuries. We are in the 2011, the 11th year of the 21st century)

So you're probably thinking "You're going to base their calendar around the number 9? That's silly!" Well shush voice person, because our time system is based around the number 60, we have a measurement system based around the number 12, and a weight system based around the number 14! Cultures are strange, and the systems they use can be strange. But that doesn't mean they can't exist.

It feels like I could just leave it there. So I have my calender is done, and that's it. Sorted. Finished. Move on.


This whole cycles idea is bound to have an impact on the cultures of my book. It will change how they speak about things, how they think of time passing etc. A world governed by Cycles. So I added a few things in.

First of all, there's people's ages. If I'm really going to embrace this calendar system, then I think the characters should think of their own ages in terms of how many cycles they have lived. For example, my main character is in his mid-thirties. Lets say 35. But he would never say or think "I'm 35!" to him it would be "I'm three cycles eight" or "Near the end of my fourth cycle" or "Almost four full cycles." When people are less than 9 I suppose they are just referred to as being "eight" or "three" or whatever, although I might make up a name for a persons 0th cycle at some point. Obviously not many people will be born at the start of a leap year cycle thing, so Dearon's personal cycle might start/end right in the middle of a Solar Cycle or whatever I'm going to call it.

I imagine because of this, people view their lives in terms of cycles. Just like people often go "The nineties was rubbish!" or whatever, my characters would think "Last cycle sucked ass!" Well, maybe not quite that, but you know. This might cause a lack of identity for each cycle ("The two-hundred and twenty threes were rubbish!" doesn't really work) but oh well, I suppose that is a downside of the calender, and why not?

I also decided that the first day of a new cycle is very important. Because it is a leap year day, it is seen as it's own day between cycles. An extra day where you can reinvent yourself, a time for fresh starts. Although I've yet to sort all the religions, I've decided one of them calls for a day of complete freedom on the leap day, which some interpret as a day where breaking the law is ok! So for those poor nations who follow this religion, it's probably best to hide your belongings when it's getting to the end of a cycle!

So I had all that. And I could have stopped there. Done. Finished. Go have a bath. Make some cheese on toast.


I decided to give the calendar a bit of a back story. I have no idea if this will be mentioned in the book or not, but I thought it would be good to give the Calender a bit of context. I won't go into too much detail here, but basically...

The calender was originally created by a Defonese astronomer named Lorrendi, and used to be called the Lerrenian Calender. However, after his death, there was a lot of dispute as to if it was actually him who created it, or if he had copied the idea from someone else. So name name was changed to the Defonese Calender. However, because the term P.L.C. (Pre Lorrendian Calender, their version of B.C.) had been used so much by historians and the like to describe what came before the calenders invention, the term P.D.C. (Pre Defonese Calender) is rarely used in spite of the calenders name change.

So there is a little glimpse into the work I'm doing at the moment, as well as a sort of insight into my thought processes when it comes to things like this. I look forward to sharing more of this stuff soon!


Age: 2c. 1


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