I’m going to geek out in this blog post – just warning you up front. While I have a creative side that is expressed through my writing, by day I am a business analyst and totally love my spreadsheets. I am also a paranormal/fantasy/science fiction geek and I find details to be important in those genres. A major detail in the Svatura series, and one I’ve been asked about quite a bit, is the aging rate for my characters.
Svatura age slower than humans. In Blue Violet I alluded to this, and you can roughly assume they live around 2000 years vs. 100 years based on how long Ellie and Griffin’s great-grandfathers were alive. I also dated Ellie/Griffin by referring to some historical contexts like Abraham Lincoln. As I got into the writing of Hyacinth I had to reference even more dates and times and ages. So the question I decided to solve with my spreadsheet is… exactly how do the Svatura age?
Okay – here’s where I geek out….
Try #1 – Linear Model – Rejected
So first I tried linear aging which is basically a 20:1 comparison. For every 20 human years, a Svatura only ages 1 year. Here’s the problem with that… Svatura would be 1 year old for 20 years. Puberty would last for about 100 years. You’d be 99 for 20 years. That’s a lot of years to go through those ages.
Try #2 – Slow Down/Speed Up Model – Close But No Cigar
So then I decided that Svatura age at the same rate as humans through childhood and puberty would trigger a slow down of aging. I had to make sure that the years still added up to 100 years aged appearance = 2000 actual years. But I still had the issue of being 99 for a very long time (even longer actually since I cut ~12-13 years out of the aging process). So getting closer, but not quite there.
Try #3 – Slow Down/Speed Up with a Curve – Score!
In my final model I kept the aging slow down triggered at puberty, but I added a curve. The aging slows down incrementally from the beginning of puberty at 12 to end of puberty at 20. Then, once puberty is over, aging speeds back up but at a slower rate. By the time Svatura are 99, they’re only 99 for 1 year. Svatura are 20 for the longest spending 46 years at that age. See my aging matrix by decade to the right (and yes, I do have it broken down to the year).
Apply the Model to Established Timelines
After I got the aging rates figured out I had to make sure they made sense with what timeline I’d already established. So I created a spreadsheet that calculates a character’s age in actual years based on the year they were born vs. the year of a specified event or activity. Then it looks up the age they appear to be based on the aging matrix and their actual years alive. See some examples for Ellie/Griffin below.
The good news is that the model works very well (for the most part) with all timelines previous established. I have the above breakout for all the main characters and even some minor ones so that I can make sure all their ages and back-stories work both for them as well as against other characters. As I wrote Hyacinth I plugged any new characters or events into my calculator to check for continuity.
Now I will admit that there is one teensy-tiny flaw in my model… Svatura spend about 800 years in appearing to be in the 20s and 30s. This means that – based on my calculations – Hugh/Lucy and Charlotte/Dexter – while parents of older teens, still appear to be in their 30s. I did originally picture them more in their 40s or even 50s. I’m still debating if I need to adjust how the model works to try to fix this.
What do you think? Is that an acceptable flaw? Can you fellow math geeks out there think of any other issues I may have missed? Thanks for letting me geek out for a minute with you. I hope you found the aging matrix as interesting as I did while I had fun making it!