Returning to the Map

I haven’t done any seriously big worldbuilding since The Rogue King Saga, which is one whole planet and four moons. It also took about a decade for me to nail down. Neither of my other two novels required that level of detail; Golden Dawn takes place in a single valley and Dark One’s Mistress needed a few opposing kingdoms, none of which actually have names at this present time.
Some of my older WiPs have bigger spaces. Aelfah spans a galaxy and the Spellster Series…

Well, what once started as a single merchant hub for one story grew into an empire, then sprawled into quite the continent. One that’s still spitting out names and places…

Clearly there are gaps that need filling

Still, this isn’t quite a return to the epic where the sea has an eternal storm and the land has (apart from strange mountains where the shouldn’t geologically be) actual twin rows of stone walls that can be seen from space…
But then again, it was molded by gods…

No, the current world will follow more real world structures. Just with dwarven ancestors and elves alongside humans… mainly because my brain insists messing with elven biology and having five-foot-something people who say they came from dwarves should be there.

But then again… this morning, I woke up from a dream involving a zombie who was not a zombie if he wore a mask, whilst we went vampire hunting in a wooden cabin that had a corridor leading to a college sports ground… so sometimes I do wonder what the hell my brain knows about anything.

How do you approach your world? Is it big? Or just as large as you need it? Do you toy with maps? Have a weird dream you want to share?

4 thoughts on “Returning to the Map

  1. I love the texture you have in your maps. They look touchable. You did them both in PaintShop?

    I've often wanted to do a map for Chikara, but I stall out on depth. I don't know how I'd represent waterfalls, and the abrupt drop-off from one province to another. There's a massive canyon in the center of the continent, and I've since decided it's ring-shaped. And then I'm not sure how I'd distinguish tropical rainforest (Halqua) from something I picture more like the redwoods (Geotellus).

    Beyond Chikara, I don't have much detail for the rest of my world. Volcanic pygmy islands, a human-populated continent, another smaller land where a set of non-human beings originated from. I haven't thought much about shape, size, or location though. I don't have enough details to make a map. 🙂

    I like the mixed races. Those dwarves sound like a force to be reckoned with.

    Did the zombie and the vampire have a throw down? Ooooh, maybe they challenged each other to a sports game, and that's why there was the sports grounds there!


  2. I do some research, write the draft, and then fill in the details of the world after I see what is needed. Of course, I haven't written an epic fantasy, so my process for a short story probably isn't any help. I have a fantasy I'm writing, but got stumped on some of the world building.

    It is good world building that makes a fantasy or sci fi worth reading.

    Good luck Aldrea.


  3. Yeah, they're both created in photoshop, different versions. I'd a fair idea of what I wanted with my older one, but the newer… just let it flow. Even the shape was on the fly. Literally just went “we need an empire and a kingdom to the east”, the rest gets filled in as I go.

    Your world would certainly be a puzzler to do like this. Could still probably be done. I've seen some really awesome stuff attempted by the pros.

    I think… I think the zombie helped. He was a friend, or brother, or something. But we left him in the cabin. By we I mean me and some other guy… In fact, we were all guys. And the vampires were… backpackers? I dunno what was up with the sport's ground, but there was a door that breathed… I woke up when it got weird.


  4. I sort of pulled the worldbuilding out of my posterior for DOM, but that hardly needed it. I do more research for weapons and the like than I ever do for worlds. A lot of it is me just me going “does it work? it works! let's roll!” over and over.


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