21 June, 2013

Math: Not just for the classroom

Yes, I do math so you don't have to!

Interesting bit I found while I was editing -- I had a line about a mob of deer swarming a field in a night and eating half the crops. You may not think much about that, but when I stared at it for a few minutes, I knew something was off. I kept staring, and staring, and staring, and then I realized my math was wrong. Impossibly wrong.

The estate is about 7-8 miles², including all buildings, farming land, grazing land, fallowed land, etc. Between the property (i.e. where the estate home sits), the fallowed land, and the grazing land, there's only about 2,000 acres², or 3.125 miles² to farm. Half that to 1,000 acres² and . . . yeah. Impossible for deer to eat through in a night.

Solution: Boar.

Wild boar will eat about 3-5% of their body weight a day, but they do so much damage. This article may be old, but it gives you an idea of just how destructive wild boar can be. What's worse, is that a sounder of boar can grow to include 50 or more, and that's a lot of feet trampling over crops.

There's no way a mob of deer can compete with the brute force of a sounder of boar, and I'm so very glad I found that mistake now.


  1. Wow! I would have never caught that math mistake, but if some deer enthusiast read this, they would have.

    This makes me wonder if publishers/editors check these facts as well, or if they just let them ride. Maybe in your novel the deer have eating super powers? LOL

    1. I wondered that, myself. My book is low fantasy/lite fantasy, so I wouldn't want an editor overlooking or excusing my math because I made a goof and they took it to just be a fantastical detail.



Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects. She's also written No Diet, No Surgery, No Sweat, an ebook chronicling her weight-loss journey.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.