Create a map – visualize your world


I’m not an artist, nor do I pretend to be one.  I do like to dabble with painting on glass and shell art but I do it for fun and stress release.

I am a writer, however, and I am knee-deep in writing a YA epic fantasy trilogy, The Chronicles of Fallhollow, complete with knights, dragons and damsels not so fair or in distress.  The realm of Fallhollow where much of my story takes place is huge and while writing the scenes, I found myself getting lost.  I knew where things were in my head but lost perspective on how long it took to travel from one place to another.  I had to find a way around it, so I drew a map.

Map of Estaria2As you can see it’s a very crude drawing but it gives me an idea on where everything is and I can visually relate to how long it would take to travel from one spot to another.  There will be some minor changes to this and some tweaking, but for now, it hangs on a board near my computer so I can refer to it when I write, just to make sure I have it ‘right’ when placing a scene.

What do you do to ‘ground’ yourself in your story to keep from getting mixed up in time and space?

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10 thoughts on “Create a map – visualize your world

  1. I’ve drawn myself a map too! I have a whole entire notebook filled with outlining I’ve done l, not necessarily for use in the story, just for me to know everything that’s going on.

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  2. Maps are a great tool, plus a lot of publishers like to include them in the finished book. If you even have a crude sketch (and yours above doesn’t seem all that crude to me, honestly) it will give the illustrator a great head start.

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    1. Thank you for the compliment. I’ve tried using map-making software but it baffles me. I have heard about publishers using maps made by the author. It makes sense as it would be, like you said, a great head start for the illustrator.

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  3. That’s actually a really great map. I think you are selling yourself short. I used a map once for a fantasy I wrote about twenty years ago. I kept it under my blotter so I could refer to in now and again.

    Funny thing is, when I grew up and got my own place, the map moved with me. Still under the blotter. When I got married and purchased my new home… still under the blotter.

    When hubs built me an office for my writing (AKA when I got kicked out of my old office because I needed the room for my kids) The map moved to. Id it on my desk right now, which is quite funny, since I abandoned that world twenty years ago, and have no intentions of going back to it.

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  4. You’re so funny. If you saw the blob I use and call a map, you would know why I think you’re a pretty decent artist (or is that cartographer?)
    I agree it’s impossible to get a good feel for a fantasy setting without a map. My current installment happens on a world of islands. So, yes, I have some blobs with physical features marked on them to keep me grounded. In the second installment, I used geography from the Mississippi River valley across the Rio Grande and desert of northern Mexico to the Gulf of California. Then I could research actual plant and wildlife and use a real map for estimating travel time.

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    1. I hear you, and yet, here you have made your own book-trailer, something that scares the bejeebies out of me. Completely out of my comfort zone. I will have to try it, though. I have to do at least one.

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