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ceros
March 28th, 2003, 12:17 AM
I was just looking for a program to make maps for a fantasy world, and I was interested to see how everybody else goes about it.

Do you create a map at all, or just keep it in your head?

Do you create a detailed map based on the world you built, or do you create the map first then modify your world to go with that?

Do you sketch the map by hand, or use a computer program to help you out?

Are your maps detailed enough to encompass what you want to write about, or do you add to it when you see fit and leave some to the imagination of you and your readers?

I did find a couple of map making programs for free download. They aren't exactly comprehensive, but they work well enough I guess for free programs. They are:

Izandawo and AutoRealm. I can't remember the URL for the first one, but the second one is http://autorealm.sourceforge.net/

Pluvious
March 28th, 2003, 12:33 AM
I have the "Campaign Cartographer". Its a fun and easy to use program that makes nice maps.

Hemingway
March 28th, 2003, 12:46 AM
I usually do a couple thumbnail sketches, and have an artist friend take care of the rest, usually in acrylic if I'm looking for some color, but a fountain pen works great as well on thick watercolor paper if I want the black and white. I usually will derive some of the landscape from random choices in geographical maps that look interesting.

Bardos
March 28th, 2003, 07:25 AM
Do you create a map at all, or just keep it in your head?

I create map(s).

Do you create a detailed map based on the world you built, or do you create the map first then modify your world to go with that?

A general map first, then detailed ones as I go, then more detailed ones, then more detailed ones...... Depends on what I need every time.

Do you sketch the map by hand, or use a computer program to help you out?

Pencil and paper.

Are your maps detailed enough to encompass what you want to write about, or do you add to it when you see fit and leave some to the imagination of you and your readers?

I try to make the world as 'real' as possible, while keeping some aces in my sleeve.

Radthorne
March 29th, 2003, 01:14 AM
Do you create a map at all, or just keep it in your head?
I did not create a map for my book's original edition, rather perferring to let the readers imagine their own landscape, but the current publisher asked me to create one. They felt that, from a marketing perspective, having a map made for a nice (and somewhat expected) extra.

Do you create a detailed map based on the world you built, or do you create the map first then modify your world to go with that?
Perforce in this case, the map came second. But I would still create the story and the world first before doing a map in any event. I think the story should drive what the world is like, and the map follow along after that. Folks are buying the book for the story, after all; hopefully the map really is just an extra!

Do you sketch the map by hand, or use a computer program to help you out?
I did a rough sketch to make sure nothing was left out, and was all more or less in the right place, and then used Photoshop to create the map. However, most of the symbols I used were modifications of those from AutoRealm or its add-ons. I felt that AutoRealm itself did not give me enough control over what I wanted to do, so I did it all by hand (mouse?)

Are your maps detailed enough to encompass what you want to write about, or do you add to it when you see fit and leave some to the imagination of you and your readers?
The map is farirly general, just showing the locations of major locales in the story and the physical features (mountains, rivers, forests) between them.

I don't have the map posted on my website, unfortunately, but if you're interested I can email you a low-res version if you'd care to see how it looks.
By the way, the readers of the new edition with the map all say they really like having the map. So I guess my publisher was spot-on!

KatG
March 29th, 2003, 06:25 PM
I'm not a big map person but I have found it useful to sketch maps for certain things for the simple reason that I won't remember what I made up. As you go along and add countries, rivers, the town tavern, whatever, it's usually helpful to remember that such and such is northwest and to get to the holy temple or whatsit, you have to turn left. Here you are naming streets, villages, shops, giving long titles to His Gracious Majesty, King Bertram of Wiggly wiggle and the maps are a nice sort of visual aid like making a box with your fingers for judging the camera angle.

For the same reason, glossaries can be useful even if you never intend to add them to the book. You're bound to make up at least a few words or technical terms and a list helps you remember.

I, Brian
April 2nd, 2003, 09:40 AM
Maps are pretty essential. Otherwise there's liable to be continuity oversights on the part of the author - and readers will pick up on them.

wastra
April 2nd, 2003, 11:23 AM
Maps are pretty important in fantasy. You have to remember that readers have NO CLUE about the lands you're writing about, so maps help them put it all in perspective.

I've a few maps at my website for the novel I am/was working on (not enough time!), you can find them at:

http://geocities.com/wastra/DoW.html

on the right-hand side.

I used pencil and paper first, then re-created them on a simple "paint" program.

I, Brian
April 3rd, 2003, 06:34 AM
That's not too bad a map - not sure about the orange for land, though - you may find reducing the blue of the seas (or omitting around all but the coastlines) would help with a different colour. The text could be redone - but on the whole it's nice to see someone trying to use something other than than terrible pencil drawings with triangles for mountains.

I'd like to see something done on a level much closer to satellite images though - that's what I'm after for myself, but I don't have the graphics ability to merge landscape colours into an original.

Tanith
May 24th, 2003, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by Pluvious
I have the "Campaign Cartographer". Its a fun and easy to use program that makes nice maps.

I'm glad I spotted your post, Pluvious. I ran across "Campaign Cartographer" the other night and have been debating ever since whether or not to buy it. It looks like a great deal, both for working with a fantasy world and this one.

The novel I'm outlining is actually set in a nonexistent Georgia county. I've got a map of the area drawn, but I can draw about as well as I can sing opera. CC looks like just the thing to help me.

Tanith :)