Monday, 4 March 2013

Mapping Mayhem

The main genre I read--and write--is fantasy, and one of the things I love most about this genre are maps. Tolkien has me going crazy with his amazing maps for The Lord of the Rings, and even in real life I'm always wondering how certain places received their names and the history behind them.

Now, I never particularly excelled in any geography classes in elementary school, and I'm avoiding them like the plague in university. But one of my favourite past times is to create maps for the books I write.

My current Work-in-progress, Ethereal, relies a lot on its geography. The creepy forest in which the majority of the story takes place is almost a character in and of itself. As well, the political boundaries of the two kingdoms are very important when considering the strife in the background of this retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Because I can't handle just plain romance, I have to throw in war and politics to make everything a wee bit more interesting, and up the stakes so you actually have to wonder if all things will be right in the end. ;) My friends just roll their eyes at me.

Here's a peek at the map I just drew drew for Ethereal. It's not very good, as I only had Paint to work with, but it's enough to help me keep general worldbuilding in mind, as well as remind me to add some cool tidbits into the story.

So tell me, do you create maps for your stories? How important are maps to you when reading a novel?