World Building Wednesday

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World Building – Maps part 2

Last week we discussed the importance of making map making. Today let’s chat about what to put on your maps. Detail is good but be careful, it’s sort of like adding garlic to the bread. A little is okay, a little more is great, a little more and yuck! Too much detail and your map becomes a convoluted mess rendering them useless.

One thing I do suggest using are colored pencils – markers even the fine tip are too wide for my personal taste.
Like with the number of maps you make the details you include will be based a lot on personal needs BUT remember maps are quick glance references. Here are few suggestions on what I include…

(1) All terrain features (ie – rivers, lakes, forest, country boundaries, etc.) so you have them at a glance BUT NOT
 Detailed features (ie Blue River has three waterfalls. A troll lives in the cave under waterfall #2) these will be included in your location fact sheets (to be discussed next week)
 Scene locations – I know authors who have tried to keep mark on their maps where each scene of importance happened – this will clutter your map. It’s much better to do scene sheets if you need notes to reference to exactly where something happened.

(2) Where each MAIN character is from – This should be some form of a mark (*,@, – a different one for each character) with an legend of whose mark it is. If my hero is represented by a green * and he lived in different places as a child learning about his magic, I may use *a, *b, *c, ect to mark where each of these places are and the letter so I know the order at a quick glance.

(3) Modes of transportation. In the Night of the Gryphon series there were ‘portals’ the characters could use to move from one spot to another. I marked where these were on my main map with a blue ‘x’. I used blue and ‘x’ only for these.
 Does your world have trains? If so where are the tracks?
 Does your world have space shuttles? If so where do they land and take off from?

For my current young adult fantasy I needed a star map...

For my current young adult fantasy I needed a star map…

Decided our constellations didn't work for me...

Decided our constellations didn’t work for me…

Sooo I'm working on making my own :p

Sooo I’m working on making my own :p

These are the three things I general mark on my main map. I decided on my color and symbols before I start marking. I pick things that make sense to me… so while blue wiggle line as a river might work for you, I prefer to make all my terrain features in purple. Each MAIN character is assigned a color also so if I decide I want to mark his/her journey it makes for easier reference. And that is key to world building –easy reference. Glancing at your map should be easier then scouring chapters looking for the reference of where something is.

I’d love to hear what you put on your maps and how you mark them.

Next week is location fact sheets. I’ll have several different types for you to download.

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