Okay, I've been trying to create a timeline in a different universe. Thing is, I want to create four sets of calenders for four different sectors of a galaxy I made up. Would it work or would it not make any sense? If you need an example, let me know. Because, right now, I'm frustrated and confused... :confused:
February 27th, 2007, 03:59 AM
I guess the main question is: is it relevant to the story? Sometimes we can all get caught up making the details right, to the point of utter obsession, without realising that it won't make a blind bit of difference to the reader. For the sake of simplicity, and your sanity :D , consider whether it's really needed first before worrying so much about implementation.
February 27th, 2007, 06:28 AM
I used a spread sheet. Column 1 was the base calendar, columns 2 through 4 were the variations matched to the base. Four different stories followed their own time lines that had to merge into a single timeline in a future story.
February 28th, 2007, 12:44 PM
Calenders and Timelines can be tricky business, and as Kater said, I wouldn't bother with them unless you really needed one.
I haven't bothered making one for my Scifi setting, beyond a very loose timeline, basically the equivalent of saying "Sometime between 1532 and 1945, the American Revolution happened, possibly coinciding with the Crusades, but certainly not happening before." After all, to paraphrase Ursula K Le Guin, Space is big and full of holes.
For my Fantasy setting, since I write stories from any point in the world's history that strikes my mood on a given day, I did come up with a timeline (two actually, after I did a major restructuring and condensed history) but its a universal and objective timeline, not dedicated to the POV of any one nations' calender. It just counts backward from the point I consider the "present," or rather the point beyond which not even I know what happens. The in-world calender systems have various Year 0, but I only worry about that when necessary. Most stories, I just avoid references to specific years, though there might be casual mention of past events to establish a relative timeframe.
February 28th, 2007, 04:17 PM
After doing a lot of thinking and planning, I've decided to concentrate on writing the story on one planet. That way, I can do the calender unless needed be.
March 2nd, 2007, 02:49 AM
That sounds like a good idea. I say this as someone who does get wrapped up in the obsessive micromanaging of my stories. If the story doesn't need it at the moment and your OCD-laced perfectionism isn't compelling you, then there's no need to sweat the small stuff.
By calendars, it seems you're just referring to the years, as opposed to fighting with lunar vs. solar vs. something completely different. The above suggestion to tally up in a spreadsheet sounds like the best way to keep the dates straight. (It'll take an extra helping of elbow grease if you've got the years on different scales.)
As a side note, if you feel the urge to keep track of the progress of the various civilizations' history, think very hard on the pace of development before you make this one-million-year empire. Things move fairly quickly here on Earth, so don't be too eager to use big numbers just for the sake of using them.
To illustrate my point, I originally plotted my fantasy world's lifespan at 50K years, precisely ten times the corresponding length of time passed on Earth. The problem was that I had thousands of years where absolutely nothing happened. I went through two very painful time compressions (which involved changing literally hundreds of entries) before I was finally satisfied at a length of 15K years. However, by the sound of it, you're not nearly as obsessive as me, so the whole thing might be a problem exclusively for yours truly. ^_^;