Although my books take place in an alternate reality, I give a tally mark for each day that passes, and I do this so that I can keep track of the seasons. At the time of this post, I’m working on the fourth book in my Alissia Roswell Series, and she’s been in an alternate reality for a little over a year. During that time, she’s experienced all four of the seasons.
I recently had a conversation with my teenage daughter, and she told me about a book she read that bothered her somewhat. She loved the story, but the timing was WAY off. It was a young adult read with a regular school year, yet the author did not track the time. Many months went by–way too many for a school year–and the prom and school activities were not timed at all. My daughter was only twelve when she read the book, and she said it was an obvious oversight.
If you’re writing a book or series that takes place over a long period, you NEED to track your days. Even young adult readers notice these things.
With my current series, I don’t have to track the days of the week, as Alissia isn’t in school or working. I only need to pay attention to the seasons and her birthday. However, I do have plans to write a werewolf book in the future, and I already dread marking the days on a calendar so that I can calculate the full moon properly. I’ll have to follow those calendar limitations and not just throw a full moon in any time it’s convenient.
The same goes for a character that goes to school. You can’t ignore the seven days of the week and various seasons with holidays. You can either tally the days on a piece of paper, or you can keep a detailed calendar in front of you–whatever works best for you.