Tags:
  1. Jak of Hearts
    Offline

    Jak of Hearts Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Topeka, Kansas

    Maps for fantasy settings

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Jak of Hearts, Feb 4, 2014.

    Hey everyone,

    I am in the final stages of my first novel. It is a fantasy setting in a fantasy world. For my own use I have created a map using Paint. It is fairly rough but it works for me. Now I am getting ready to hand out my revised draft to beta readers here in the next few weeks. My question is, for the readers, are maps necessary? What are the pros and cons (if there are any) to not providing a map to readers of a fantasy world. And if I do need a better map, are there any free programs out there that make good maps for this purpose? When I get to the point that I send it to a literary agent, will they want me to send them a map, will they use mine, or will they hire a professional to make their own? I'd appreciate any knowledge or experience you all can share with me on this topic. Thank you.
     
  2. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,123
    Likes Received:
    5,323
    Location:
    California, US
    I don't think they are necessary. As a reader, I never even look at them. Some people like them, however. You can make maps using GIMP, or something easier to use like AutoRealm. Those are free. ProFantasy has some nice software, but it isn't free. If you get published, they might use your maps if they are of excellent quality, or else the publisher might hire someone to create one if they desire to include a map.
     
  3. Morbius
    Offline

    Morbius Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    11
    For me, a detailed map helps suspend disbelief and adds a sense of credibility (realism) to the overall story. It isn't critical, but it is a nice extra.
     
  4. A.M.P.
    Offline

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Location:
    A Place with no History
    I like the maps.
    I generally look at them and even go back to see how the characters journey looks.
    It's fun.

    I heard fantasy publishers, some of them anyways, push for having a map drawn for the book.
     
  5. AsherianCommand
    Offline

    AsherianCommand Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2014
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    I pushed for my fantasy story to have a map. I mean the first draft was with pen and paper. But then when I got the general idea I asked a friend to help me make one, I gave him the geography (which I knew quite abit about) and told him what to make. He made it and It was exactly how I pictured it.

    You just have to be around when the map is being made so the person doesn't screw up, (I even made revisions to it later on).

    It helps alot for readers to know where the character is. Because if you have a geographical reference it basically talks about the land and the people and gives a general idea of what the area is like and what could possibly happen.

    Plus it also looks pretty if done right.
     
  6. MilesTro
    Offline

    MilesTro Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,062
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Springfield
    Most of the popular books have maps of their fantasy settings; like Lord of the Rings and Games of Thrones. I planned to make a map to after I finish my fantasy novel.
     
  7. TLK
    Offline

    TLK Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    35
    The issue, or rather potential issue, as it depends very much so on your world, is that geography can become quite confusing. If your MC is travelling about to all these different, made-up places with foreign names, it can get confusing. Readers may wonder why your characters are so worked up about getting from Bibleros to Gangerun, or why, when your MC went from Robbleford to Gribbleswick, he went through a "huge forest", but when going from Gribbleswick to Swarfingword, he didn't have to. Yes, you can explain all this, and you can explain it well, but place names will keep cropping up and you won't be (and shouldn't be) re-explaining a particular facet of your world's geography.

    So, I'd strongly recommend to include maps, if your world is suitably complicated, they can be useful. Some people don't use them, yes, but for those people having a map is no disadvantage either.
     
  8. Glen Snow
    Offline

    Glen Snow Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I love when fantasy books include maps. A Song of Fire and Ice, The Lord of the Rings and the Inheritance Series have great maps and certainly lend a level of realism to the world. Nearly all the fantasy books I pick up tend to have maps. Though most seem a bit "cookie cutter" or archetypal. Cold Mountains to the north, warmer forested areas to the south and generally a larger open space, plains or desert, in the middle.

    In an attempt to avert the pointless ramble about fantasy geography that this post was slowly turning into. I'll just say maps = good/great, no maps = just alright.
     
  9. TLK
    Offline

    TLK Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    35
    I wouldn't agree there's a "template" as such for Fantasy maps, but I have to say the Hadarac (or Hadrac?) desert in the middle of Alaglaesia in Paolini's books does occasionally feel like he wasn't sure what else to fill the gap with...
     
  10. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    If mapping out the entire land or world is too much work, create maps only for the areas that are the focus of action of the novel.
     
  11. Jak of Hearts
    Offline

    Jak of Hearts Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Topeka, Kansas
    The mapping of the land came easy because I already had a 60 page text document with the world history, economy, locations, etc. (I used the setting from an old homebrew D&D campaign I put serious work into). Me, personally, when I'm reading fantasy novels I HATE having to flip back and forth to the map. I would rather the author just say why the characters are going the way they are or make it so that the geography of the world isn't necessary to understand the story. That's what I've tried to do, is just point out the relevant information. But I wanted the perspective of others. I appreciate the thoughts and insights.
     
  12. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    It depends on how extensive and complicated the travels of your characters are. For instance if you plan to have large scale battles, the lack of a map will make it very hard to visualise troop movements and will make your text much more wordy. If movements are relatively limited or simple, then maps are a luxury.
     
  13. TheApprentice
    Offline

    TheApprentice Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,198
    Likes Received:
    154
    I never pay attention much to the maps when I read books that include them. It is good to map the world through words though.

    For example, lets say the world of Elder Scrolls was never mapped (and before anyone tells me, yes, I know its called Tamriel.) Since there is no map, you have to write at some point where each place is. Since Skyrim is north of Cyrodiil, you have to specify that in one of the chapters, for example.
     
  14. NanashiNoProfile
    Offline

    NanashiNoProfile Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2014
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Scotland
    I bloody love a map! I like seeing how far a character has come, and also daydreaming about the parts that the book doesn't touch upon is quite enjoyable for me. I created a world and a map for my own story, but the actual story so far uses only a small portion of it. The personal uses of a map in terms of inspiration were invaluable. I'll share it if anyone is interested, though this is a writing forum and not a cartography one :)
     
  15. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I might consider including the map, but I would purposefully leave it out of the beta reader's copies. you want the story to stand on its own first. The map should be extra, in my opinion.
     

Share This Page