Wednesday, November 14, 2012

World Building Wednesday...

There is no end in sight, when you are a fantasy author and building your own world. There are many things to consider and sometimes, you are constantly changing things. You will find, while you are writing, that some things just don't work.

I lost count on how many times I have had to change something. It happens. And maps are no exception.

I've talked about maps before, yes, but now it is time to talk about map makers. I have my world map drawn out by hand on numerous squares of graph paper all taped together. I roll it up when I have to transport it or move. I hate doing that, though, because it tears and crinkles. I get all OCD over it. But I like to have that huge map up on my wall near my desk for quick, easy reference when writing. I don't want to have to keep swapping windows on my computer. Just a quick glance up and sometimes I spend several moments tracking the movement of my characters.

Not only that, each square on my graph represents a certain distance and so configuring how long it takes them to move about is fairly simple. Because math and I are not on speaking terms, I need simple!

But what do you do when you need that map shrunk down and print ready, for say, the inside cover of your book or for your website? Crap! I can't take that huge thing and scan it. I'd be here for days...

I have my own methods and means of getting my map onto my computer, but it's long and drawn out. Not simple at all. But I did take a pic with my cell phone and now my friend Jennifer is working on it by taking those images and going to this site to take it to that next stage.

Here are some results:

This shows the dashed lines of my kingdom borders. Originally, she made them solid lines, but this looked better.

Next came rivers and lakes placement. Right now, this is only on one continent as we work out details for the others.

    
This shows some of the icons that can be used as well as mountain range placement.

I think it is coming along nicely. I can't wait until it is done with city names and the rest of the terrain. This has been a huge worry of mine, how I was going to get this map book worthy or even ready for the internet. I'm thankful Jennifer is willing to play around with this. I don't mind being a guinea pig, because when she is done with my map, she will know what to do for hers. It's a win win! There are other map making programs out there and a lot of them are time consuming. However, if you want a map for your books or website, you're going to have to take the time. There is no fast map making program unless you choose to use a pre-made map. And even then, you'll have to worry about copyrights. So choose wisely and make it your own. It will be so worth it in the end, trust me.

5 comments:

Donna Hosie said...

How awesome, Mel. And how exciting to build a world from scratch.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's very cool your friend is helping you with the map!

D.G. Hudson said...

Maps are nice. I have a map of Paris on my wall.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Very nice! I love fantasy map making so I think I'll be using this in the near future. Thanks :)

Jamie

Mel Chesley said...

I think it is way cool! Looking forward to the finished project. I love maps and used to cover my walls with the ones out of National Geographic.