1. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada

    Map for Fantasy World

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by jwatson, Sep 6, 2009.

    I'm going over my novel another time and I have changed my map about three times. Is there anything that I should keep in mind while I change it for the third time?
    I just feel that, for a medieval setting, it's still not the best it can be. Right now, I pretty much have one big ocean that can lead to every country that is not in the center-ish area of the world.
    I just want to know if there are other things I should keep in mind for a fantasy map...

    Also, this is only me thinking ahead, when you submit a query, do you ever send a map or anything along those lines? Or is that only when you are given permission to submit more of your ms?

    Thanks a lot for any help that comes :)
     
  2. Gallowglass
    Offline

    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,617
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Loch na Seilg, Alba
    Medieval fantasy? Don't use that to describe every aspect of your work, or you'll find that it's no longer fantasy, just a representation of where you live in the medieval era. A good publisher would work that out.

    But maps aren't that necessary. You just need to know where continents, mountains, oceans, and borders are; not towns and cities. As long as your writing makes it seem like you know where things are, I'd imagine you don't need to send one.

    You can, but it might make people think it's necessary to understand the book. That's not really what you want to make people think.
     
  3. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    The only thing I can think of right now is making sure what you write matches what you draw on the map, especially if you have made big changes. For example, if you have country X to the north of the ocean on the map, make sure your character isn't heading south, stuff like that. This may seem like obvious advice, but there was a very famous (and very good) author who made a similar mistake in one of the best novels of all time. It's kind of embarrassing.
     
  4. Marcelo
    Offline

    Marcelo Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Sonora, Mexico
    Out of curiousity, who was this author? I can't stop thinking about it. :D
     
  5. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Dostoevsky in Crime and Punishment. He makes a mistake towards the end of the novel. I don't have a copy on hand to cite the example, but I remember the details of it. Basically, he states earlier in the novel that the police station closes at 4. Towards the end, the character is looking at his watch and thinks, "It's 4:30. If I hurry, I can get to the station before it closes at 5." Both the editor and translator pointed out this error in footnotes.
     
  6. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    Haha, that's funny :D
    Thanks for the posts guys
     
  7. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    It closes at 5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
     
  8. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Are you sure this is mentioned in the book? Because I clearly remember a note from the translator about this issue.
     
  9. Fiel
    Offline

    Fiel Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Land of Lightning.
    I have a map too, and I'm proud of my work. :D

    It's ok to change it as long as you keep the change consistent with the direction the character take and storyline (like description of a battle or event). Just check it over and over. It would be embarrassing to have simple mistakes like direction be pointed out once your work published. Put extra effort and it'll be fine.

    My honest opinion.
     
  10. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    To be honest, I doubt you'd show the publisher/agent the map, really until after your story had been accepted, since your story should make sense without needing the map.
     
  11. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    No, but it's a plausible fix. Maybe he thought it was info-dumping to mention the details about it ;)
     
  12. Edward
    Offline

    Edward Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Virginia
    Maps are there just for looks anyway. Most fantasy maps don't actually coincide with what actually happens in the story.

    The reason for this?
    Science Fiction Authors Have No Sense of Scale. In this case though, it's Fantasy.
    Not that most of them can actually make a map, either, what with all the rivers flowing up and all that jazz.
     
  13. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    When asked about a map for her Darkover series M.Z Bradley stated in an interview that she disliked making maps for publication for this very reason.

    Science fiction and fantasy fans tend to be nit-picky. Really nit-picky. Forgod'ssakegooutandgetalife nit-picky. If there is a four letter word out there somewhere that is the "bad word" signifier for nit-picky, science fiction and fantasy fans would all be that. One little mistake in your map, and the discussion will turn to that mistake instead of the story.*

    I might have a map as a tool to help maintain internal consistency, but I would not allow my mind to be taken to it as a part of the publication. That would be distraction.


    *Even a demigod like Larry Niven had to deal with this. From Wikipedia:

     
  14. Sophronia
    Offline

    Sophronia Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    4
    When adding locations and environs on a map, you really only need to put those that are mentioned and are involved in the story itself. I have created several fantasy maps for my novels, and I have added other places on the map that aren't really relevant to the story, but I believe they can create a little more interest in the world for the reader.

    If you're using the same world in several different stories, more locations can be relevant. Location names and places can reveal things about races and people as well, like their language and culture. Hope that made sense haha.
     
  15. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    Well this is the first in what I plan on three or four (I haven't thought that far yet) and I'm polishing it so I was just wondering. As for only putting things in there that are relevant to the story: my next work(s) will have my character moving from place to place so I'm making a map of the entire world with one huge ocean, one big sea, a couple of lakes, a long stream, a bunch of forests, mountains, volcanoes, and this thing I call a trench which is the deepest place on the planet, kind of like a big crater...
    Besides that, I've got some countries with 3-5 cities in each and I'm leaving little villages that my character travels through unmapped. What I'm asking is: does it sound alright?
    Weird question because I'm asking if something you are looking at sounds okay...
    But the stupid question aside, I'm just worried that its missing something...
     
  16. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    I'm not sure why you worry. Hopefully the map is just for your own reference, so anything not relevant to the storyline is pointless to add.

    I've done map sketches for my own story world but they're all outdated as the world changes along with my editing of the story. They've just helped me visualise the plot continuity. I have absolutely no intentions of adding a map to the finished work for the reader to see. It's a big visual infodump.
     
  17. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    To the OP, and just because I like to play both sides of any question, feel free to PM me if you are interested in how I managed to create this little beaut of a map.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Unit7
    Offline

    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    59
    Thats actually a really cool map.

    I also find it interesting that you have a ocean sized lake. I have considering creating some fantasy story or planet with something similar. Don't ask why, because I really have no clue. Just sounds like an interesting feature to have for a planet :p

    To make this post more on topic...


    I don't see anything wrong with having a map. Yu might not need to send it along with the manuscript. I am sure if you get a publisher you can bring it up to them if they are interested. Though you should make sure that if you change the map around, you should make sure directions and descriptions fit it. Wouldn't want your characters to be accidentally going through some land of molten lava or something when they are taking a vacation.
     
  19. Sophronia
    Offline

    Sophronia Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    4
    Like HorusEye said, the map is for your reference, but it can also be for the reader's reference while they read the story.

    Make it however you want it to be - it's your story ^^
     

Share This Page