Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

This weekend, I treated myself to a break from editing to work on a new short story and to read through the project I'm thinking of rewriting so I could take notes. Yes ... I consider it a treat, and that's how I thought of it.

The short story is for the "act of folly" April monthly challenge - more detail on their site. I'm playing with the idea in that the character is deliberately attempting to do something foolish and keeps getting thwarted. The story is also as-told-to an unidentified third party, so there are occasional present tense / pseudo second person interjections when she stops to explain or apologize to the listener. The identity of the third party is important to the resolution of the story, so I'm hoping it all works.

Being stumped over fantasy calendars again. I hate these: it's a no-win situation. You have the unappetizing choice between a) using our calendar and having it stick out like a sore thumb among all the non-Earth concepts; b) inventing a calendar and forcing the reader to wade through a bunch of gratuitious month-names (at least); or c) using bland, obvious names like firstmonth, secondmonth, etc.

I'm pondering doing a variant on the Earth calendar: instead of January, February, March, it'd be Janum, Februm, Maren ... does anyone think this is viable, or would it just draw you out of the story MORE than using conventional months?

3/7 - 3/13

Pages Edited: 29

Word Count: 5,242


Diego said...

Honestly, I don't think readers care all that much if its a short story.

Already, the fact that your fiction about a non-Earth world is written in English and that everyone speaks English is a pretty large leap of faith in itself. And while yes, I agree using our calender would indeed stick out, using modified names doesn't seem like such a big deal since having the reader deal with an unfamiliar system would seem to bog down the narrative more than anything.

That's how I see it for a standalone short story a longer novel or a series of stories, where you have time to acclimate your readers to your world, you have far more freedom with the naming of things and you should take advantage of this freedom

Lindsey Duncan said...

Oh! I am talking about a novel with the calendar. I don't typically bother in short fiction. :-) I was debating using the tweaked month names because there's already a lot of other names floating around to remember.

Sorry to be unclear!

Diana said...

Janum, Februm, etc. would make me scream in agony and pitch the book across the room. But that's my personal pet peeve with fantasy stories; made-up names for stuff that sounds made up.

I guess it really depends on how important the calendar days are in your story. Unless something is specifically happening on the 15th day of the fourth month of the 952nd year after some big event, I don't think you need to mention the names of the months.

The story that I am currently reading is a contemporary story set in the fall. I have no idea what month it is or what day of the month it is, and I don't need to know for this story. Mentally reviewing other stories that I have recently read, they haven't indicated the date either.

Our months and days are named for gods or by number. If you're going to come up with a calendar for your story, then it would make sense for the names to be based either on the gods of the world or numbers.

My two pence. :)

Lindsey Duncan said...

Uh, wow ... that's intense. ;-)

I often create calendars, but don't usually find myself referring to the month names. In this case, though, I suspect I will have to for clarity, so making them comprehensible and setting-appropriate without straining the reader's mind further would be good ...

And I want it to echo our calendar as much as possible because I'm doing a fairly elaborate backstory timeline, and I think I could shatter my tiny little mind. ;-)