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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/12397-Setting-the-Clock.html
Fantasy: February 07, 2024 Issue [#12397]




 This week: Setting the Clock
  Edited by: Robert Waltz
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

They took away time, and they gave us the clock.
         —Abdullah Ibrahim

You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure.
         —Chadwick Boseman

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
         —Joseph Addison


Word from our sponsor

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Letter from the editor

Almost everyone knows that there are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute; and that a day is defined as the average time it takes for the planet's rotation to bring the sun back to the same place. (Well, almost the same place. The same meridian, anyway.) And that it takes about 365 of those days for the planet to make a complete orbit of said sun.

Using such a clock and calendar in your created world is convenient for you and easy for readers to relate to.

But what if you didn't?

Fantasy and science fiction often feature settings other than Earth, or Earth at a vastly different time period when its rotation was faster or when its rotation will be slower. As improbable as it is that some other planet will have precisely the same day or year as ours, using our timekeeping conventions as a shortcut keeps you and the readers from having to keep track of yet another alien thing in a world already full of alien things.

And sometimes, it doesn't much matter. A story set, self-contained, on a different world could involve only the denizens of that world, used to its days and years. It probably wouldn't add to the story if their day were, say, 29.45 Earth hours long; they'd maybe just divide their day up into 24 (or 98 or 13 or whatever) divisions and call them hours.

The difficulty—and opportunity—comes in when a character changes worlds.

So you take, say, a human who's used to our cycles, and throw them onto a different world. Fantasy or science fiction or both; doesn't matter. It's not just a matter of being used to our day, either; every cell and system in our bodies is programmed for a 24-Earth-hour clock. I'm not going to get into the possible consequences here; that's something to explore or not in your own stories. But it could make jet lag seem like a minor inconvenience.

Also, consider even more wildly different settings. A planet that keeps the same face to its sun, where half of it is always in daylight, and the other half at night. One with two or more suns, perhaps rising and setting on their own schedules. And, even harder to translate for readers, different divisions of the day than our hours, minutes, and seconds.

Again, sometimes such things can just get in the way of the story. But it can also add interest or atmosphere, just like how you'd describe different features of the world. Or it could even affect the plot.


Editor's Picks

Some fantasy, if you have the time:

A Prank From Beyond  [13+]
A man claiming to be a foreign baron comes from far away to do a heinous, magical prank.
by brom21


 Love's Eternal Bloom  [E]
We all know the day will come, we hope it will be gentle and quick.
by Redtowrite


 March Of The Eldritch Crickets  [E]
Crickets on patrol...
by greenpan... sleeping awake


 THE WILD BIRD  [E]
Long, long ago, two girls set out to have an adventure, they meet a mother and child.
by hdarling


 Nellie has a Tantrum  [E]
Nellie wants to be with her human, but her human says no- WC 1014
by Dragon is hiding


 
Blue Tower [180] (299 words)  [18+]
< 300 words. Prompts: blue, tower, heart. Our memories are beautiful...
by Kåre Enga in Taiwan


 
An Un-birthday  [E]
Pookie's party for the Author.
by Beholden

 
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Word from Writing.Com

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Ask & Answer

No comments on my last editorial, "Getting Around

So that's it for me for February—see you next month! Until then,

DREAM ON!!!



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