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Tansy Rayner Roberts @tansyrr
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Ok make yourselves comfortable I need to talk about the Ides of March.

(This is not about Caesar. Not everything is about Caesar.)
Romans had some wild ideas about calendars. Instead of numbering the days of the month in numerical order, they named three of them and tried to locate themselves based on which of those three was closest.
The Kalends was the 1st, the Ides was the middle, and the Nones was “9” (cough, 8) days before the Ides. The Ides was only the 15th (roughly) in longer months - March, May, July & October. It was the 13th in other months.
Originally the Ides was supposed to be the full moon, but it took the Romans a long time to figure out that the moon didn’t stay in the same place each month, because they weren’t using a 28 day cycle.
Moving the calendar around and trying to fix it so it matched the actual year and not an “aspirational” year (and so you could consistently had seasons corresponding to the same months without slippage) is one of those things Caesar did that got everyone’s backs up.
Caesar being annoying about being right all the time was like 98% of why he got assassinated but THIS ISN’T ABOUT CAESAR.
So when I was worldbuilding for my fantasy series The Creature Court, I used Roman calendar traditions and festivals very thoroughly, with some extra flourishes of my own. I created a “perfect” complex calendar in which the Ides actually was always on the full moon.
Can I just say to all the writers out there, if you ever consider creating your own calendar with loving detail for your fantasy world, with specific meanings to every day? DON’T.
Just walk away from that impulse. It seems so clever and aesthetically pleasing when you’re in your 20’s and all your brain cells work but years later when you are editing those books you will hate your former self for her indulgent choices.
So yes, the Creature Court books revolved around an elegant series of festivals, calculated to a minute degree. Their days are Nones and Ides and Kalends and all the days in between.
It’s so pretty, you guys. It’s SO stylish. Instead of weeks they have market-nines based on the nundinae (in Rome they had a market day every nine days and when I say nine obviously I mean eight).
(in my Creature Court books, nine always means nine, I’m not an actual monster)
Ahem so anyway. I created this beautiful calendar based on what if the Ancient Roman calendar was even fancier and actually worked reliably and had even more festivals and everyone celebrated them all the time.
And I wrote an entire epic fantasy trilogy using this calendar and I mostly had no regrets as long as I wasn’t writing flashback sequences, or editing. Cough. So Book #3 has a LOT of flashback sequences. Also my editor, Nicola O’Shea, was a SAINT and a WIZARD.
It’s 6 years since the last Creature Court book was published, probably 14 or so since I started writing them. And now, because of my Kickstarter re-release (I’m so excited! support my Kickstarter!…) I am writing a new novella set in this world.
I think you might see where I’m going with this story.
So now I’m writing a new Creature Court novella for the first time in years, and it’s a bizarre experience, like writing your own fanfic only it’s canon, or maybe like finding an old jumper in your wardrobe that still fits but differently? And then. And then...
And then I realise I have to immerse myself back into this dratted calendar again and actually understand it, and I’m staring at my old Excel document and… I think I spoke too soon when I said I wasn’t a monster. I HAVE DONE THIS TO MYSELF.
Writers. Worldbuilders. Fantasists. Learn from my hubris. Beware the Ides of March. #whenworldbuildingattacks
In other news, I own this t-shirt.
The Creature Court Kickstarter is open now! You can pledge your support from now until the Ides of April.

I’m pretty sure no one was ever stabbed on the Ides of April.

(Don’t check that fact, I can’t back it up)…
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