Thursday, March 17, 2011

As it turns out, my map gave more direction than intended.

I remembered with horror that I forgot to post anything yesterday.

I wish I could say it was because of writing... but... No.

I required a map.

Not just any map. A map of the landscape in my head.

Yeah... I felt more than a little overwhelmed.

The last time I tried my hand at it, nothing seemed to come out right. It felt fake and wrong. I tried once, and that ended up as bad as the last time.

So I went information hunting.

All day yesterday.

Now I feel pretty much up to date on the whole mapping thing, I just needed to work out what goes where. Because I have an A4 page and six countries. It's sort of important to work out.

I finally got round to actually drawing the damn thing. Well... I've started and an hour wasn't exactly enough to get me through all of it.

Still, I can tell you now, it is starting to become very inspiring.

You see, there are the lands I'm drawing. Then there are the lands beyond the end of the page. In fact, some of the countries on my page stretch out beyond the boundaries. And it made me wonder...

Who are they? Are they watching the growing conflict with apprehension? Are they weak to avoid it? Or do they have worries of their own?

That actually made me see something I never realized. I can probably start a completely different series just about those countries outside of the limits of my map.

Which is big for me. Because I used to think that the Doorways series is it. That I would be done with Fantasy after the completion of the series. After all, I couldn't possibly think up another series like this one... Right?

Uhm... wrong, it seems.

But first, I want to deal with Callan and co.

Have you ever drawn a map? Did it give your creativity a boost for stories beyond the scope of the WiP the map was drawn for?

Oh yeah! I should mention that I will do a post about drawing maps on D-Day in the A-Z challenge. So remember to drop by then if you want to know how I am doing it.


  1. I drew a map for the previous novel I was working on. It was useful and fun (even tho I can't draw At All :)

    For my current one I've just been referring to real maps of London in the 1850's, which was fascinating.

  2. A friend of mine who is a historical romance author for Carina Press (we've been crit partners for over 8 years) had to draw a map for her story published last year. It was pretty impressive and, she said, an interesting learning curve.
    Judy (South Africa)

  3. When I was five I had a dream where I saw the ocean, a castle, and a wheatfield. I drew my first map. I've been redrawing that map ever since, and am still working on the story.

    So yes, I'd say, it has been quite inspiring!

  4. Yes! I did draw a map, or rather place a fictitious island on a map. This was for my first novel--an MG adventure. I'm hoping I'll be able to get back to it one day...

  5. I don't draw maps for my fiction. But I do use them extensively. It is surprisingly hard to find maps from the 30's 40's and 50's.

  6. All of my books are reality based, so I've never had to draw a map. I've used Google Earth a few times, though.

  7. Years ago, I drew a map for a YA novel I wrote. I loved it. It made everything seem even more real.

  8. I have drawn maps before, but of course that's using the term "draw" loosely. I have no artistic skills in that area. ;)

    I've drawn a map for a fantasy novel I'm working on of an entire "world" (very simplified map) and then I've drawn up just little things, like were one scene takes place to just help my mind get a better grasp on what it is that I'm trying to describe. It helps a lot to have that visual to go to!

  9. I love drawing maps and have drawn many in my life, whole worlds even. Fun.

  10. I do wish I was more artist to draw the maps as I see them in my head, but I have drawn maps for my first novel and I'm working on one for my newest project too. I find it helps to know where things are located and keep everyone on the right path. I look forward to your post about it in April. :)

  11. As a matter of fact, I am drawing a map right now. It is based on one I did years ago, but it needed to be bigger and updated with the names of various places that the first one didn't include. This is for the book I published. I couldn't get a map into the e-book, so I thought I'd put it on my blog. And now that I'm looking at it I do wonder if there aren't stories about the other countries. We must be cyber linked. Scary.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

  12. I drew a map for the fantasy I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year... it was really inspiring!

  13. Very interesting that your map helped you see something about your novel! I can see how. I wrote a fantasy about 12 years ago in which I drew a map. It WAS helpful. Actually, even in the dystopian I just wrote, I had to "map" out the town and surrounding areas to make sure I was saying things right and having my MC go the right directions! Have fun! and Happy St. P's day!

  14. I like the sound of your map.
    I referred to a map for my WIP which is set in London to find out if one of my MC's could walk to where I wanted him to go easily and yes it worked and then I scrapped the first 2 chapters and started with chapter 3 so you don't know all the stuff of his walk immediately. LOL! :O)

  15. I'd love to look at your map. I just find them awesome and interesting at the same time. I love books that have maps in them for this reason.

  16. I've drawn a couple of maps before--very rough ones, mind you. They're a really fun way to explore the world you're creating and often prove very useful. I used to have a hard time keeping things in order (this country is to the east...or was it west? No, it was north...maybe), but my maps cleared all that up :)

  17. Sounds like a great idea, I shall try it myself with my current projects.

    Best of luck!

  18. I've sketched a town in one of my wips before, but not a whole country. It would be fascinating, though. I'm glad it gave you some great new ideas!! That's always a good thing ~ :)

  19. Yes. I draw solar systems. :D And I draw starcharts - where everything is in relation to each other. When I go planetside - if it's not Earth - I will draw a map. They're fun I think. And you're write, it gets the creativity working in a different way.

  20. You're in pretty good company - Tolkein, amongst others, made maps. It's a fun thing to do, and it really helps with figuring out the world-building. I've done it, but not often enough.

  21. I should draw a map for the story I'm working on--I considered it several times, but because there are planets and galaxies, and I don't have any idea how to create a star chart or any of that I backed away. :P

    It sounds like you've got a great map!

  22. Yep, I drew maps for my first two novels. I spent days (maybe longer) on the things and regularly changed them. I had to learn mapmaking and scale and think about distances and so forth. Fun.

  23. New follower here!World building is such a big part of writing fantasy. When i was writing my book (which I just finished editing for the 7th time!)--I took the time to create an intricate map of URTH. I used the cliparts and shapes available on microsoft word.

  24. What a great idea. I have a WIP that I should do this for. I'll check back on 'D' day of the challenge.

  25. I've drawn a map of the vast city I created in my book that's currently on sub. I think it absolutely helps with worldbuilding.

  26. Like Bilbo, I'm a fan of maps. I can't draw very good ones, but whenever I start a new story, the first thing I do is sketch up the area where the story takes place. Works great for blocking when characters travel around.

    Kudos for the thought, Misha!

  27. If I'm building a fantasy world, I have to have a map. When I don't have a map, I inevitably get stuck because I don't know exactly where the characters are, where they are supposed to be going, etc. In my current novel, creating the map helped me define my story and some plot points a little bit better. (Especially that when I realized, given distance and traveling time, that my characters should have already been in the next country. I had to fix that.)

    The very first map I ever made for a book was just a throw-it-out-there little bitmap image for the series that my co-author and I were writing. The continent was very...round. And funnily enough, that little bitmap drawing is now in the front of my published novel for any reader to see. (Which also means that my co-author and I can't change anything at all geographically for future novels in our series.)

    Um, I rambled a lot to say: MAPS ARE AWESOME. It's fantastic that you drew one and that it gave you ideas of stories you hadn't even considered. That's always an exciting feeling. :D

  28. Friday I would love to write about 1850's London. Fascinating bit of history, that. :-)

    Judy it is an interesting learning curve. And quite a lot of fun. :-D

    Christine, it sounds like it must be an interesting story. :-)

    Samantha, I seem to recall you writing about the MG book once... Hope you do get back to it one day. :-)

    Al, it is odd. One would think that more recent maps like that would be easy to find...

    Diane, I suppose I will get around to writing more reality based stories too one day. Google maps will be a great idea. :-)

    Connie, it does make everything feel more real. :-)

    Jessica, it's so true. Today is the first time that I used the visual during writing and it already puts things into a new perspective. The only sad thing is that I'll have to redraw the damn thing as the story progresses, because I can only put in places that my characters know. And some places that will come up in the very near future. Head ache when there are five huge countries and four stories. :-)

    It was a lot of fun, Bish. Just not fun enough to do every day... :-)

    Cherie, I think my post will be very helpful then. My first attempt looks very good even though it was my first serious attempt in years... :-)

    Nancy, that sounds like a great idea! You know what they say about great minds? ;-P

    Mariah it can be very inspiring. :-)

    Carole, I suspect that I will get round to drawing maps of my cities and the cities themselves. But I will have to take my time. My artistic side has been lying dormant for about six years... :-)

    Madeleine, that is one of the most useful things about maps. That intangible feeling of far and near suddenly has scope. I now can make myself an indication of how far or near the characters have to travel. :-)

    Me too, Michael. I might one day put up my map, but it's still too far from being completed. My map is (for now) politically orientated, so I don't have plenty of landmarks and things. Those I will add in subsequent versions. Maybe I will put up my completed map of the entire continent if I get published. :-)

    Kristina, I know exactly what you mean. For example, I forgot how long a trip was going to be and now it feels as if I'm supposed to add something into the story to make something happen.:-)

    Thanks Janete! I hope that your map is as helpful. :-)

    Donea, I'll have to map out cities too. Maybe you can give me pointers? :-)

    Hahahaha M, now my map seems an insignificant amount of work. ;-)

    Tony, I hope I can live up to my company. I definitely think that maps can give a clear idea as to the world my characters function in. :-)

    Golden, I also procrastinated since the inception of this series when it came to the map. But I just realized that I have to have a map. :-)

    Lynda, I know what you mean. I ended up leaving my map somewhat incomplete so that I had space to add things in. :-)

    Wow Nut, sounds like a lot of work! Thanks for the follow. :-)

    I think the post will be quite helpful, Ciara. :-)

    Sarah, I think you're right. Even now as I glance at the map, things that I have to think about keep occurring to me. :-)

    That's a great way to do it David. :-)

    Welcome, Laura! Maps are awesome. Just a lot of work!:-)

  29. For me, the map always comes after the concept, but I'm weirdly orientated already when I start drawing the map. Have you checked out Holly Lisle's post about this?

    Sounds a lot like what you've done! :)


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