But as I read through my words for the tenth time - and yes there will be many more readings. I revise like Tolkien. I read once that the reason it took him so long to write - was partly because his works were so long and detailed - but partly because every time he got a little bit further along, he went back to the start and revised all over again.
I do that too. It makes for slow going but it works for me. I am an almost non-existent plotter and although I may have a very firm idea, the middle parts of the story are usually quite bare when I begin. So I need to revise iteratively and continually to maintain continuity as the story develops organically.
But can I be further than 2 km away? Would sound travel a greater distance over the flatlands? Would snow absorb any sound? And what sort of bell was it anyway - in 17th century Japan?
So I type into Google: How far does a bell toll? One of the suggestions specifies time and place - the equivalent of pre-industrial early medieval Europe. It's a reasonable match. The link takes me to a forum. Some people comment from English villages about the bells they hear every day. Another takes a comment from Wikipedia about the bells of St Mary-le-bow and calculates the distance to the villages mentioned.
One person describes how flatlands amplify sound. Another tells the tale of a 12th century monastery resited because its bells were confused with those of another 2 km down a winding valley. Someone even explains the physics behind why an older bell rings louder over distance than today's bells.
Everything I needed to know was there. I figure given the landscape and the time of the bell I can safely set the distance between my kids and the castle anywhere from 2km to 4km. I don't need to be exact. I just need to be realistic.
Here is the link to the discussion on bells. Everything an armchair author needs to know! http://little-details.livejournal.com/1945635.html