Today's topic is developing a system of time for your cultural group.
The first thing to think about is the basic physics and astronomy of the world: How much like Earth is your world? Is it the same, like mine? Or is it on another type of planet? How many suns are there? How many moons are there? How long are the night and day? How strong is the gravity of the world? What about of the sun and moons? How long are the seasons and how strong are they?
- My story is set on Earth, so I am modelling my time system on our reality and how humans have done it which makes it easy for me!
- If your world is substantially different from earth you will probably want to do some research about basic physics so that you can create a realistic system.
- My characters are perfectly adapted to living on the seashore and so I am creating a daily pattern of time based on the tides.
- I have decided to give them a lunisolar calendar with a period of uncounted time at the end of it to make up for the time gap between the lunar year and the solar year (the seasons).
- I'm going to give them a natural ocean phenomenon that marks their new year and ends the uncounted time, but I haven't decided what yet. I know it will be the appearance of some kind of animal - I'm thinking maybe whales, or the mating/beaching of sea lions, or something like this.
- I live in Western Australia, so I am probably going to model the seasons on the traditional seasons here, so they will have six seasons.
- My characters worship the Moon Mother and so their basic units are the tides, the phases of the moon (months), as well as the seasons (the year).
- They have regular lunar based celebrations. At the moment I'm thinking every new moon they will stay up all night and keep a vigil - so basically a once a month all night party.
- The above mentioned uncounted time before the annual (insert mass marine phenomenon here) will be another holy time for them.
- My characters also have a well defined political system with an annual large gathering of representatives. This will feature in their calendar as well.
- My characters have a low level of technology. They measure time by what is happening in the natural world, not by time keeping devices. So their general sense of time will be very broad. That means they won't be able to say things like "I'll just be five minutes." I'll have to come up with some other expression to get that across.
- Different seasons will be time for them to eat different food, migrate up or down the coast, or get things ready for a later time - maybe like ensuring they have warm clothes for a colder season.
- I'm still deciding on this stuff. I will eventually come up with a full calendar for them to help me keep track of the timeline, but for now I am adding detail as I need to.