Perhaps I missed the target. Maybe creating a map was what every fantasy writer did before they wrote their draft. But if you were like me and didn’t, it was an honest mistake on our part, wasn’t it?
A bit of a back story. I outlined The Hunted Prince. As someone who writes by the seat of her pants, this was fairly easy and enjoyable. But I ran into a problem. I was stuck when it came to writing it. Me, a pantser! One of those reasons was because I haven’t properly introduced the Asylum world in Black Wings. (Details are found in my prologue while Volume 2 mentions it but that’s it)
I got to chapter three, and still felt a little lost. It’s not like I didn’t know my setting! Asylum is the sister world of Earth. It’s people live like in the medieval times, with some influences on Earth’s culture through the ages. Mythical creatures and dragons roam the world, and the main story follows my protagonist, a vampire prince. But that was still a broad idea. I haven’t grounded my chunk into molding clay.
This is where I decided, the heck with it. Back to world-building, back to reading European, Asian, and Native American lore. In doing so, I got excited but not for the writing part. Rather for my world. I outlined my map, wrote the cities, villages, and kingdoms my protagonist will visit. Once I finished, I wrote my first draft at 50,000+ words in less than a week. This was a surprising speed for me, considering it took me almost a month to write a 50,000 word draft of Lola.
Roll up your sleeves, it’s time to make your map.
One thing to remember about building your map is, what exactly is the purpose? Mine was to convert it into a globe and place it on the first few pages of The Hunted Prince. Now it’s my blueprint for what will be (though I didn’t plan it to be) a trilogy.
If you wrote your world on 8 x 11 paper like I did, I wouldn’t conclude that your map is ready. For example, my map from my first blog post looks nice, but I spread them out when I copied it for Adobe Photoshop. Unless you wrote your continents really tiny, you could fit your world nicely, but it will be hard to write down your notes.
Everything I know about my world was in my head, so creating it wasn’t difficult. If you already know where your hero, heroine, or villain are in the first chapter, I suggest you start there. Remember, conflict drives a story forward, do not make your world a walk in the park, make it dangerous.
Molding clay until you are ready.
It’s cool to have a map to show around, but I suggest not coloring it or spend hours drawing every mountain. Instead, make up your own logos, and write the names of every forest, town, city, kingdom, etc. Don’t beat yourself up for how you drew the logo. A colorful map will not help you move your story forward, but the details and logo will.
Here is the video showing what I did with my map from my part 1 blog. Below you will find a link to download the symbols I used. They are in PNG format so they can be transparent and blend over your maps nicely. On my part 3 blog, I should have finished outlining the third book of my trilogy.
I look forward to sharing it in hopes it will inspire you.