Climates and calendars

Last week we looked at creating a map and defining distance, this week we turn our attention to climate and the construction of a calendar for your world.

Once you have a map of your world you will most likely have some idea about what the weather is going to be like in certain regions. I suggest writing this down so you don’t end up changing it by mistake further down the line. For example let’s say in that in the west the terrain is subarctic while further east it becomes arid. It is important to get these details down because they will affect how seasons display themselves in your world. 

Seasons for the most part are very straight forward you have autumn, winter, spring, and summer, you may choose to give them different names but for the most part they will appear in the same fashion as they do in our world as that is the cycle which weather takes. However as I said before the climates of your world will affect how the seasons are displayed for example in subarctic places autumn’s are colder and winter’s appear sooner and longer with heavy snow fall and blizzards, while in arid places although it might get colder it will not snow instead autumn and winter may bring thunder and rain storms. Really the choice is up to you but I suggest researching how seasons affect different climates in our own world to inform the creation of your own that way your world will feel plausible.

Now that you have made a decision on climates and seasons you will want to begin crafting your calendar. You may wish to base your calendar off our modern one or off an ancient one, or perhaps you wish to create your own picking your number of months, weeks, and days. Whichever you choose you will need to delegate which months fall into what seasons or if some months are transitional and also you will need to decide where you want your year to end, does it end with a month or with a season.

I find it helpful to write it out in a spreadsheet, starting at a new year going through month by month counting out the weeks and days of each, and making note of the seasons.

Beginning of Autumn
August
Wk 1   Day 1
            Day 2
            Day 3
            Day 4
            Day 5
            Day 6
            Day 7
Wk 3   Day 8
            Day 9
            Day 10
            Day 11
            Day 12
            Day 13
            Day 14

This will help you keep track of your calendar and it can also be used at a later stage in the writing process. I often use this spreadsheet to keep track of the progression of time in the stories set in my world; therefore I keep a master and then edit one spreadsheet per novel. It is a great way of a making sure all the dates line up in your story. Note however that this is different than your historical timeline which we will cover in a later lesson.

When you have decided on your calendar you will want to fill it with festivals and holidays. This will add depth to your world and once again help you develop the culture of the people in your world. Now there are several types of festivals, religious based, the arts, ones around food and drink, seasonal, and ones celebrating the harvest. Harvest festivals may occur in summer or spring you may even wish to include festivals around hunting and fishing. As for seasonal they could be based on solar or lunar calendars or simply by the seasons, for example solstice, full moon festival, and midsummer. Festivals around food and drink will be more specific to the individual cultures of your people however typical most cultures have some sort of wine festival and feast days. Arts again will be tailor made to your people however once again most cultures have some sort of music or literary festival such as storytelling or poetry. Religious of course will be the most specific for it is entirely dependent on the myths, legends, and beliefs of your world. How to create such things will be discussed in a later lesson. However some simple religious festivals you may wish to include could be one around the celebration of life and death, for example Matariki, a Maori festival remembering the dead and celebrating new life, and the day of the dead, Día de Muertos.   

Different to festivals are holidays, days in which workers have time off. These can be religious based, seasonal based, or they can be national. For example the birthday of the king or queen might be a holiday or a day of remembrance of a battle may be. Some may even be roaming holidays meaning that they do not fall on the same day each year for example a king or queen’s birthday may be fixed or it might change with each ruler, coronations may also be holidays and they occur rarely and on different days.

Some festivals you might even want to be roaming say perhaps there is a comet or a type of eclipse which happens every so many years that might have its own festival. Basically the choices are limited only by your imagination.

Next week we will look at creating a bestiary, which for those who don’t know is a catalogue of creatures found in your world.

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