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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
Location: Texas
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Re: Maps!


I tend to agree with both Loud G and Reythia when we are talking about a single author is creating the world but in the case of the Anthology project I am thinking names just might be important even if we confine the stories to 10-12 main kingdoms. We want the world to have a feel of reality I would think and consider this... The Wykmani Empire at it's greatest extent was almost twice the size of the old Roman Empire. The territories of the Roman Empire fragmented into 54 separate countries and Roman had trade with at least a dozen large nation states that I am aware of.

So like Loud G I am sure most of the countries won't exist beyond a mention or two in our stories even with our concentrating on 10-12 of the most contiguous ones related to our stories. I would still like to ask for country name suggestions though to populate the map area we use from the Fantasy world and those mysterious kingdoms we might mention in the course of our writings...

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6/1/2011, 3:28 am Link to this post Email Pastor Rick   PM Pastor Rick Blog
 
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Knight of Honor

Registered: 11-2005
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Re: Maps!


quote:

Pastor Rick wrote:
 I would still like to ask for country name suggestions though to populate the map area we use from the Fantasy world and those mysterious kingdoms we might mention in the course of our writings...



I'm afraid I won't be much help here. Really, I don't LIKE naming and formally locating things until after I've figured out what I want to do with them. I find it limits my thoughts too much. So by all means, let's name the places we're planning to use -- we need to be consistent after all, and with all of us working at once, things could get messy otherwise! But I'd strongly prefer NOT to set the details up in stone or even molasses until AFTER we've decided on the basic plots of each individual story.

Why don't we just denote a region that was the old empire, and some broad topographic regions (ie: this area is a desert and that one's mostly forest). If there are crucial regions, we should formally bound those also (ie: two countries whose warring has a significant historical effect on our story.) But let's give the individual authors a little freedom to figure out WHY the map is divided the way it will end up.

emoticon I know, I know, Rick. You and I work in totally opposite ways when it comes to this. You help define your plot from your maps. I define my map based on my plot. My point is, while I'm willing to give in and map the larger details, I'd really appreciate the flexibility to define the regional geography as I write. I work better that way.

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Squire

Registered: 09-2003
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Re: Maps!


My main problem is that I'm rubbish at thinking up names emoticon



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6/7/2011, 11:09 am Link to this post Email David Meadows   PM David Meadows
 
Pastor Rick Profile
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The Reeve

Registered: 07-2005
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Re: Maps!


I didn't want to step on any toes, still don't, but for me I need names, I have to start viewing the fantasy world as a place before I can really get to it in my mind. So I am thinking of giving all of the major land masses names and if any of my names look odd, as in you see it and think "if I had a choice I think this one should be ___" I'll be more than happy to change it. emoticon

While I am at it, I am starting to think of our anthologies planet as Avani (English translation of the Sanskrit word for earth) . Is that good for everyone?

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Maps!


I'm fine with Avani.

I don't think that many non-tech societies that have no real idea they are living on a planet would actually call it anything. Instead, they would probably think of their place as "Home", and other places would get a name.

Of course, we're talking about an Empire, so it's feasable they have a name for their home that encompasses the entire world (even if they don't know it's a mudball). emoticon

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Shepherd

Registered: 03-2006
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Re: Maps!


Hmm, a chance to help in the writing community as I'm most used to! Namely by giving assistance on a technical detail. emoticon

In this specific case I'd like to note they probably realise they are on a planet, after all even in the ancient world, the well educated tended to realise their world was spherical and of limited size. emoticon
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Reythia Profile
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Knight of Honor

Registered: 11-2005
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Re: Maps!


quote:

QS2 wrote:
In this specific case I'd like to note they probably realise they are on a planet, after all even in the ancient world, the well educated tended to realise their world was spherical and of limited size.



Exactly. And the civilization that Rick's been talking about is definitely socially advanced enough to give their home world a name, even if all it means is "home" or "dirt" or whatever. Historically, almost all human pre-historic societies had rather good astronomers who named the other bodies they saw floating around the heavens. Once you put names to the OTHER things, it's natural to put a name to the place you're looking at them from, too. Thus the name "Earth".

In any case, I'm fine with Avani.

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Journeyman

Registered: 10-2008
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Re: Maps!


I am finding that I need to draw a map for the NaNo story that I am writing, as I intend to write many tales about the same place, and I need to find out where everywhere is. Fantasy is a great genre to play with.. (my first attempt at it.)

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Maps!


Yes, I found I needed a rather general map for my fantasy land, as I wanted to calculate realistic riding distances and finding out which country is where, so I could use directions.

I firmly believe that even fantasy should follow some realistic rules. emoticon

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Knight of Honor

Registered: 11-2005
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Re: Maps!


quote:

Firlefanz wrote:
I firmly believe that even fantasy should follow some realistic rules. emoticon



Seconded. Adamantly.

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Grand Master

Registered: 01-2005
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Re: Maps!


quote:

Reythia wrote:

quote:

Firlefanz wrote:
I firmly believe that even fantasy should follow some realistic rules. emoticon



Seconded. Adamantly.



Thirded, then drawn and quartered. emoticon

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11/21/2011, 6:57 pm Link to this post Email Loud G   PM Loud G AIM Blog
 
Reythia Profile
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Knight of Honor

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Re: Maps!


*groan*

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David Meadows Profile
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Squire

Registered: 09-2003
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Re: Maps!


I'm reading Lord Valentine's Castle at the moment, and I think the person who drew the map at the front hadn't actually read the book first emoticon

For example, the characters travel between two cities in two days, in a horse-drawn wagon. Checking the map, a rough estimate of the distance between these two cities is hundreds of miles!

Now they've travelled on foot between another city and a river in about four days, and again the map shows those points hundreds of miles apart!

Either the writer doesn't understand travelling speeds or the map-maker put his dots in the wrong places!



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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Maps!


David: Woah, that's horrible!

I actually drew a map for my tales so I could calculate the travelling distances realistically. Guess something went wrong in the novel you mentioned. *sigh* These are the things that give fantasy a bad name.

  emoticon

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Hannah Steenbock
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Shepherd

Registered: 03-2006
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Re: Maps!


Do we have an article that discusses realistic travel distances in fantasy settings yet? If not it might be useful, at the moment I only have some rough ideas on what kind of distances you can expect really.
12/6/2011, 5:53 pm Link to this post Email QS2   PM QS2
 
Reythia Profile
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Knight of Honor

Registered: 11-2005
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Re: Maps!


Haha! I like Silverberg's writing a lot, but I'm not sure he's really the best at geography, actually. Aren't those maps usually sketched by the author, even if they're filled in and neatened up by someone with actual artistic talent? I know that's true in at least some cases, since I've read several books where the author actually apologizes for her lack of drawing skill in the intro!

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Maps!


QS: I think we did, but I suppose I should dig it up.

I do remember one on long distance riding, at any rate. emoticon

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Squire

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Re: Maps!


quote:

Reythia wrote:

Haha! I like Silverberg's writing a lot, but I'm not sure he's really the best at geography, actually.



Oh yes, I'm enjoying the story and he writes very well. He's just geographically challenged emoticon



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Flasheart2006 Profile
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Grand Master

Registered: 04-2004
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Re: Maps!


Oh Rey-rey, I'd forgotten how "Bah humbug!" you could get about certain topics! emoticon

A point that seems to have been missed is the fact that, assuming it's been done properly, a map can be a wonderful piece of art in its own right. They can be beautiful, informative, interesting; and, in my opinion (again, assuming they're done right), maps can automatically add an extra level of 'shininess' to a book. It doesn't matter what type of map it is--detailed, symbolic, illustrated; to scale or not to scale; covering a wide area or a small; black & white or in colour--a good map is a thing of beauty that has a massive impact on a book's production. They have their own intrinsic value, quite separate from that of the text. And in fact I'd agree with Loud G: if, as a reader, I were given the choice between a good front cover and a good map, I would choose the latter without a moment's hesitation.

(Obviously, as an author I want both!)

I freely admit that I spend hours of my time just looking at maps--both fantasy and real-world. They fascinate me. And I'm always on the lookout for new styles and new ideas. I'll also admit to being a prospective reader who often will decide whether or not to buy a fantasy book purely on the basis of whether or not it has a map. It's not a deal-breaker, but for me personally it's certainly an important factor. emoticon

But I do think there is a very real and simple reason for this instinctive like of seeing a map while perusing the bookshelves: as soon as we lay our eyes on a map, regardless of scale or style, a part of us enters into the author's world. Instantaneously. No need to read the first few pages to get an understanding of climates or cultures or even time-periods; we are there. And that's a massively important buzz to have, right off the bat, before we even look at the text.

Because let's not forget, all text *looks* the same on the page. It takes time for words to settle us into their world; and as we all know, when it comes to grabbing a potential reader's attention, time is a very scarce commodity. Maps tell their own story, even before we read word one of chapter one--and that story might just be enough to hook the customer.

Now obviously, as this thread has demonstrated, some people prefer the slow-burn of letting the words reveal the world to them, line by line and scene by scene. They can produce their own image of the world, their own locations and climes, unsullied by the author's personal ideas; and you'll never catch me saying that that isn't a nice sensation/experience in and of itself. But I would heartily reject the rather condescending view that, if a book has a map in it, the author's being lazy. In fact, if anything, I'd argue the opposite: they've taken time and brainpower to make sure their world is coherent, and follows its own rules. If I refer to a map while reading, it tends to be because I 'want' to know the whereabouts of such-and-such a place within that world, not because I 'need' to for the story to work. (Please note, however, that I do not deny that there is an abundance of stories in which the maps can be horribly drawn and/or the author does an appalling job of showing their world in their writing; I just don't accept the idea that illustrations automatically equate to a 'bad job', or that individuals who don't like maps in their books are somehow more intelligent/attentive readers.)

So that's my two cents' worth: maps can be beautiful pieces of art and appreciated as such; and they're invaluable marketing tools when it comes to transporting our readers to our worlds.

[One more point to add: I was recently commissioned to draw a map for a fantasy novel, which was just a dream come true! emoticon ]

Last edited by Flasheart2006, 11/9/2018, 11:40 pm
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Firlefanz Profile
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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Maps!


I love maps! Like you, I can spend hours looking at them. I love painting the landscape in my mind from them. In fact, it's a really fun scene when I introduce Zell to the concept of a map.

Back then, Riane inspired me to create maps for my stories. Sadly, one was for a cooperative world that never took off. In fact, that person has cut me out of their life (which still hurts at times) and that effectively killed the bunch of short stories we had planned for that world. I still love the map, though.

Following this, I created a map for my dragon world, and I put it into all books that take place there. (Actually, there are two maps, one a close-up of the other.) I drew them by hand - that's the style I like. It's a bit Tolkienesque.

Great thinking about a map being a tool to immediately draw a reader into your world. I never thought about that, but it's true. Maybe that's why many successful fantasy books do have maps in them.

Oh, congrats for that commission! That's awesome. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Last edited by Firlefanz, 11/10/2018, 8:46 am


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Grand Master

Registered: 04-2004
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Re: Maps!


Yeah, I much prefer the hand-drawn/painted look to the computer-generated look. Computer generated, although it can get much more detailed, just doesn't feel as personal to me; not as authentic.

Do you have any particular styles you like?

Pauline Baynes's map for Voyage of the Dawn Treader was my introduction to fantastic cartographer (just as the book itself was my introduction to fantastic fiction), and so the original Narnian maps have always held a special place in my heart (not that travesty that someone thought was a good idea to release to coincide with the films). In fact, if you look through my old drawing books from when I was a kid, you can pinpoint the moment when I started reading Lewis, because from that point on just about every other page was another map with naff-sounding names. (All the rest were schematics of Airwolf-style attack helicopters!)

Since then, I've developed a particular love for antique real-world maps, where each country is outlined/highlighted a different colour, usually painted with watercolours. Alas, I don't have the aptitude to produce something so intricate and beautiful.

When I'm drawing maps, I find I have a tendency to like peninsulas and islands. Earthsea is right up my street! I also salivate over details like this:

Image

(even though the printers got the pages the wrong way around!)

Whoever said cartographers hate blank spaces? emoticon

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Lady of the Land

Registered: 05-2003
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Re: Maps!


Sorry for being so late returning to this, Dan. emoticon

That Earth Sea map looks very intricate. Are you saying that they put the left side onto the right hand page and vice versa? That's terrible!

I prefer a hand-drawn style. That's why I draw my own maps. I have used a light table to create enlargements, too.

This is the generic map I drew for the Cloud Lands books. I have versions with names added in, and an enlargement of the western half of the southern continent.

Image

These are in my book. The ebook maps aren't perfect - somehow, I never managed to get a transparent version right - but it's there, at least.

I have always, always loved maps. Globes, too. My grandma hat a tiny old one, all browned out. No idea where that ended up...

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