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July 7th, 2001, 07:27 AM
O.K I hope you read the Point of View thread, that may help answer this for me.

Timing, when you write book, the timing of scene's can sometimes get fustrating, especially if your writing a book with several point of views. I have read a few books where a character was in the east, and when his view point turns up again, only a few days have passed and somehow that character managed to travel a large distance which should be impossible. Those type of errors are quite annoying to the reader.

I have been working hard to make sure that when I return to a character that sufficient amount of time has passed for that person to have reached his/her destination.

If you have any tips which can help make timing of scene's easier please do reply.

Another problem I faced when I was planing was that I wanted a character in a certain scene, but also I wanted that same character to appear in a scene which was a few days after, but halfway across the world. What do you guys do when you are faced with such problems?

July 7th, 2001, 09:14 AM
Two ways come to mind right now to make traveling "alive":

(a) Have the characters stop at certain points (eg, cities), before reaching their destination.
(b) Tell the journay, until the characters reach their destination. The story doesn't always have to be linear; just make sure all the story's characters are... at the same time in certain places.

Here's what I do: I note down the days; eg, Characters A/B/G: +24, Characters C/E/D: +18. So the character group C/E/D needs 6 more days to be "at equal time" with the characters group A/B/C.
That way works for me, so I don't get confused about the time.

Another problem I faced when I was planing was that I wanted a character in a certain scene, but also I wanted that same character to appear in a scene which was a few days after, but halfway across the world. What do you guys do when you are faced with such problems?

IMHO, let the character do what s/he can where s/he is; as I said before, let the story tell itself.
For example, I hate it when the writer does "Jordan's trick", meaning s/he teleports the characters to the other corner of the world so they can fight a battle. If the characters are not there, and you want to show the battle (or whatever scene), show it from anothers' PoV, and let it end itself, even if the "good guys" are to lose.

July 9th, 2001, 03:34 AM
Just be familiar with distances and travelling times. It would take, for example, a LONG time to travel 300 miles with no horses, no paved roads, etc. If your book has royal highways, or great roads, you can expect more inns along the way (although in a more realistic setting, inns are rare; found only in large cities), which increases travel time. Roads are HUGE- they make travel SO much easier.

If they have horses, the travel time really won't increase (you have to walk a horse in a journey, and walk next to it as much as you ride it), but the characters' fatigue levels will decrease (unless they are galloping, meaning they change horses every 20-50 miles).

I believe there is an article somewhere connected with this site about travel time in medeval settings. If you find it, it is VERY helpful.

As to wanting a character someplace they can't reasonably get to- don't force it. Forced stories are ones that don't flow well because things happen for no real reason- it seems only as if hte author thought "Hey, it would be cool if character X was there..." ala Robert Jordan at times. Maybe that's a plot twist- the character can't be at the big battle, and his side loses the battle because of it. Or he knows a battle is about to begin, but is agonized because he cannot be there to fight in it.

July 9th, 2001, 04:48 AM
About travel time:

Man on foot: 30 kms/day
Man on horseback: 60 kms/day
Chariot, wagon, cart, etc: 45 kms/day
An army can move about: 20 kms/day (or 25, some say)

If the moving unit is traveling on difficult ground (i.e., forest, swamp, mountains, etc), multiply by 1/2.

Btw, in case you need this also (once, I deed need it http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif), a person can stay alive a month (or more; but he'll be a... "living-dead") without food, but only 3-4 days without water...

Oh, and about ships: Well, there are many things to consider here, like the type of ship, the weather....

July 10th, 2001, 07:19 AM
“If they have horses, the travel time really won't increase (you have to walk a horse in a journey, and walk next to it as much as you ride it), but the characters' fatigue levels will decrease (unless they are galloping, meaning they change horses every 20-50 miles).”

Wastra, I’m going to have to disagree with you. Horses, like humans, can be conditioned to trot/gallop basically all day. Also a lot of the time it takes to travel will depend on the type of horse. In other words a Mustang will get you farther faster than a Shire (unless you weigh 300 lbs). However pulling a wagon a shire may be a better choice to get you farther faster.

I would agree with the time / distance listed by Bardos. These would seem to be average distances and would need to be adjusted according to the exact situation. For instance the distances would need to be adjusted depending on how much “stuff” you are carrying.

I don’t know if any of you have actually gone backpacking. If not, it might be helpful to plan a trip. 30 kms a day with a full backpack is a LONG day and is really for those who are in good health. I couldn’t do it. Maybe 6 years ago, but now I think I’d pass out after 15 kms. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

July 10th, 2001, 11:07 AM
Bardos, thanks for those figures they should help me when I begin to write the book after planning. If there are any other types of figures, I'll very much appreciate it if you could post them. These little things, are someones the most common mistakes in books, and I don't want to make the same mistakes.

Also I like to read a book where figures are given e.g distances, how many in the army, how many die in a battle etc. It all adds to make the reader understand why it takes so long to get there, or how devastating the battle really was, rather than just saying a large part were killed etc. I hope you get what I'm meaning. So this is a thing I'm gonna try and put in my book.

wastra I'll look for that article. But if anyone finds it plase do post the link.

July 10th, 2001, 01:02 PM
About battles, I don't think you can say for sure (there are many factors), but... I guess if the losing side lost X warriors, then the winning side would have lost X/2. But you can't take that as a standard; many things must be taken in to account: combat skills of the warriors, commanding skill of the leader(s), positions, plans, long-ranged weapons, cavalry, armor/weapons, (?magic?)...

July 11th, 2001, 12:08 AM
Bardos, I'll be taking those into consideration as well, not to worry. I have created cards, which give info on each of the armies, the skill of its warriors. How many say Eagles die for every warrior (e.g 1.5X) etc. And as I'm still in the planning stage, I'll soon be creating cards on the skill in commanding of each commanders, captain etc.

I was just looking at figures e.g distances, spped of longboats etc, those types. On the weapons and army side, I've got plenty of books to help me with that side for the moment.

July 11th, 2001, 05:35 AM
Keep in mind, then, that in medeval battles, the number of men killed ws acutally pretty low. Except for the unlucky footsoldier placed on the very front line, there was a high probability for most people to survive a battle. Most either fled or were injured. Actual deaths in battles were low compared to those who died on the march, from disease, etc. The Invent of gunpowder changed everything.

Of course, it changes with region/time period. In England, prior to the Norman oinvasion, the bulk of armies rarely even took up arms. They were the fyrd, or citizen muster, who were gathered from the farms and towns near to a battle. They were untrained, armed usually with farm tools, and had no armor. They stood behind the professional soldiers (called Karls), who were well armed and trained. They were known for their large axes (very Nordic in style), their ferocity, and for fighting on foot. The Karls did most of the fighting (as England had no cavalry before the Normans arrived).

They also fought as individuals rather than a group. The nature of the army precluded intricate battle plans and issuing orders on the field. They just stood in lines and waited for the mad rush of enemies to hit them. When enemies charges, the Karls stepped out in front of hte Fyrd to give themselves room to swing their axes, and went to work.

The Normans brought the cavalry and professional armies to England. Before them, the English were merely an off-shot of the nordic countries (poor organization).

Anyway, sorry to get a little off-topic here. Hope its useful.

July 11th, 2001, 11:31 PM
I agree with Wastra on travel speeds.
Horses are not faster on humans on long journeys, certainly some horses can gallop all day, but if you look at military history you will see that even rested horses were often blown after one charge.

Actually in reports from the napoleonic wars and the American Civil wars you will often see that horses were not able to keep up with infantry on long marches.

Also there is the difference between corn fed and grass fed horses. Horses you will ride today are almost always corn fed, eg, they get food in their trough. But in the middle ages and even in the 19 century, almost all gorses would be completely grass fed, they have a lot less stamina then.

Humans on the other hand are hardy walkers, I agree with Kats that for us pampered city dwellers 30 is hard, but if you have backpacked you will also know that if you keep it up it becomes easier not harder, at least if you are well fed.

Good disciplined infantry in the 18th or 19th century has been known to march more than 30 miles are day for a week or more, with 25 kg packs on their backs to boot.

Propably the best marching effort was by the British light brigade (later light division) in the peninsular war, 1809 before the battle of Talavera. They marched 234 miles in 5 days (A hot August in spain) finishing with a 56 miles march in 26 hours, suffering during the 5 days only 17 stragglers out of 3500 men