IWSG, brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, occurs once a month. It exists for writers to voice their insecurities and offer advice. The official website, www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com continues to be a priceless commodity in my studying and research. Any one interested in writing to have a look!
I've got a very niche subject for IWSG today. And after writing it out and having read this post again in its entirety, I must admit - It's not the most grievous of quandaries.
I'm writing fantasy that takes place in Silexare. There are certain trades and skill sets that are going to need to measure things in a precise manner, like engineers, mechanics, surgeons, physicists, apothecaries, and so on. In its history, Silexare has experienced a lot of similar challenges as as we have. And although they have certain extraordinary ways of dealing with issues, they've arrived at some of the same conclusions as us, regarding health, physics, aerodynamics, weaponry, agriculture, economy, and especially measurement. This brings me to my current dilemma. To what systems of measurements should I adapt that will least distance my reader?
Allow me to illustrate:
"Scribe, I've looked over your report of the beast but there are some details about which I'm still unclear. How big was it?"
"At least twenty feet long, if I remember correctly."
"Ah, feet. The unit of measurement exclusive to North America... On Earth... how utterly not-fantastic."
"Did I say feet? I mean he's just under eight yards!"
"Oh, yards. Like a touchdown. On tv." *yawn*
"No no no, he's seven meters long from snout to tail!"
"Meters? What is this, science fiction?"
"Argh. He's about twenty paces!"
"Paces? Like strides?"
"No a stride is like three paces."
"According to whom? A dwarf? A giant?"
"I'd guess a human?"
"How tall? How vigorous a stride?"
"Uh, well... um -"
"Moving on. Your report says the beast's firey spit can burn at 1,000 degrees Farenheit?"
"You mean Farenheit like this grouch? From Earth?"
|Danny G. Farenheit. Thanks, chemistry.about.com.|
"No! I meant Celsius! 538 degrees Celsius."
"Oh I see. Celsius. Like this shmiling shmuck."
|Mr. Celsius. Thanks, Wiki.|
"No! I -"
"Moving on. The gestation period. You said it lasted from January 1st until October 1st?"
"... That's correct... ?"
"Says here about 37 weeks."
"... that's it?"
"So you're telling me not only do we have seven day weeks just like Earth, but distance in time from the month of January (which just happens to be named after Janus, an Earth doorway god) to October (which literally means eight despite it being the tenth month) is exactly the same as on Earth?"
*sigh* "... I guess I am."
"Therefore, the circumference of Earth, it's distance from the sun, the sun's circumference, and every other tedious factor that might play any part whatsoever on the perceived passage of time for Earth is not just similar, but identical to that of our world, thereby greatly limiting potential for spectacular events in this or any future book?"
*sigh again* "Weren't we talking about a beast?"
"We were until you threw me out of the story with your Earth words. Begone."