A Question of Time?
No, not the age ol’ question of, “How do I find time to write?” But rather, the age ol’ question of, “What the heck do I call units of time in my fantasy novel?” It’s a question most people probably don’t give a second thought. And if you’re writing in anything but historical or fantasy genres, you most likely don’t have to deal with it. This is one of those pesky details I wrote about a while back; one of those things that needs a little research so it comes off feeling correct and not out of place.
The keeping of time is ancient. The Egyptians were the first to create a 24 hour day. Night was divided into 12 hours, designated by the position of the stars in the sky, and the day was divided into 10 hours. The other two hours were twilight hours – before dawn and after sunset. During the day they used shadow clocks, sundials, then water clocks and hourglasses, but it wasn’t until late in the 14 century that the term “minute” came into being. At least, according to my research via the www.
Now that I’m in the final edit of BD&L, these are the pesky kind of details that become the stumbling blocks. Not insurmountable ones. Just annoying, little ones that delay me and stop the flow of the work because it’s now crunch time (no pun intended) and I can’t just gloss over it and mark it as one of those things I’ll come back to later.
So, for those of you out there who have had to reckon with time in a period when it wasn’t recognized as we do now (meaning no watches, no clocks, no minutes or seconds) what solutions did you come up with?