World Building Wednesday


Where the heck are you?

All world building starts with a map. If you are using a real location – buy one. If you are creating a world – draw it. Now I can hear the moans and I understand I struggle to make a stick person, these aren’t drawings for an art gallery but for your personal use alone.

I prefer to start with a ‘wide’ view and then narrow down my building so that is the way these posts will flow.

Below is the map I created for my current WIP.


Why draw a map??? Ohhhhh the heartaches a map would have saved me in writing the Night of Gryphon series. Were the mountains to the left of the Oracle Valley or to the right??? Had mentioned a river along the way??? Etc. Please please learn from my pain and draw a map.

For real locations, you would need:

a)      State map (so you can see the neighboring cities and land marks – believe me this saves time to get it now )

b)      City map

If a large city – I.e. – Chicago then a suburb one of your close setting.  (For my current romance suspense under my other name I have one of the state, one of the city,  one of the college, and one of the local mass transit routes).

For fantasy/sci-fi writers then I suggest drawing several.

a)      A general overview of your world. One like the picture above. This overview map could even be more wide scope if you are doing a sci-fi or fantasy that includes planets. Then you could have several before you’re ready to break it down to step b.

b)      Then I have 7 individual maps – one for each of the countries –

Next week we’ll discuss the details of your maps… Sometimes too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.

I’d love to hear about any basic map making tricks you have. This is always a growing learning area for me.

One response »

  1. I do SF, and I agree. I’ve got a folder with rough sketches of places, worlds, ships, and all sorts of odd crap. I’ll tape it to the wall next to my desk while I’m working on the relevant piece. Great idea! So yes – visualizing in pictures for me helps to visualize in words.

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