1. RahnyJae

    RahnyJae Member

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    Drawing of world map - a requirement?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by RahnyJae, May 1, 2018.

    Title kinda speaks for itself, but I'll elaborate. I'm about done with my first ebook. It's an urban fantasy in a historical setting that takes place in its own "middle earth," so to speak, so it has different countries than the ones in the real world. I have names for everywhere my characters go and I know what the countries/continents look like, which I describe wherever relevant throughout the story.

    My question is, since I do that, do I need to have a drawn map at the very beginning of the book?

    I've seen the drawn map in so many high fantasy books, especially, that it seems required when alternate worlds are involved. I've liked the maps, but never felt like they were needed to follow the story. Also, honestly I don't have a huge interest (or skill or the money to hire someone with skill) to make a map. If it would make for a better read or it turns out to be some kind of fantasy fandom deal breaker, then I'll definitely put my best foot forward and try to make something happen, but would it be terrible if that part was missing altogether?

    Update:

    So the general consensus appears to be that it doesn't really matter. Thank freakin' goodness. lol

    I have a few photoshop traces of some continents that I'll play around with it, see if I can make them into something decent. But if I'm not happy with it, I won't stress over scraping the map as a whole. Thanks everyone for your responses. :geek:
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    There are plenty of fantasy books with no maps. Personally, I rarely even look at them. They’re a nice extra for readers who are in to that sort of thing but by no means a requirement.
     
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  3. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    Short answer: No.

    Long Answer: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

    Detailed answer: Not really, they can be useful for worldbuilding purposes, but aren't really needed.
     
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  4. awkwarddragon

    awkwarddragon Member

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    I would say maps aren't a requirement, but it certainly helps to give the reader an idea of where the setting is/takes place. I'm a visual person, so often times when I read setting descriptions - where, what the environment looks like, etc, - I have difficulty processing the information. In my case, a map would be fantastic and help me better visualize the world. Although maps are more likely to be found in high fantasy works, it'd be considered a bonus if you included one. Even if it's just a sketch. My two cents.
     
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  5. Night Herald

    Night Herald The Fool Contributor

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    No.

    Sure, the maps are neat to look at, and I enjoy making them, but I don't consider them to be anywhere near necessary. I don't think I've ever paused in a story to consult a map, or lamented its absence where one was not in evidence.
     
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  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I've never cared.

    You mention hiring someone--does that mean you plan to self-publish? Because if you plan to be traditionally published, the publisher would be responsible for that sort of art anyway. That doesn't change the question of whether you need to know the details of what would be on a map, but it does mean that it wouldn't need to have a professionally drawn one.
     
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  7. RahnyJae

    RahnyJae Member

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    Yeah, I'm leaning towards self-publishing right now, but that's good to know about traditional because I'm open to that, too, down the line.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    At the risk of starting a new instance of an old debate: self-publishing a work reduces the odds of getting it traditionally published later. You may already know that, but just in case.
     
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  9. RahnyJae

    RahnyJae Member

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    I'd never heard that, but I'm not surprised. It makes sense. To clarify, I wouldn't try to get the same work that I self-published also traditionally published anyway, but rather other works. Now, if being self-published period effects (affects?) the odds of people traditionally putting on my unpublished works, then I imagine I'd still be willing to give a shot, but if it doesn't work out, I'm still at peace with my choice to start independent. I can't really explain why without going into a rambling tirade about my feelings over the past year or so as I went back and forth about it, which I won't torture you with. lol But thanks for the heads up. It'll help keep my expectations in check if/when I venture out.
     
  10. TheRealStegblob

    TheRealStegblob Kill All Mages Contributor

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    Nah, the reason self-publishing hurts ever getting traditionally published is because publishers don't like publishing something that's already published somewhere else- even if it's just self published. A news paper wouldn't want to re-publish an article you published somewhere else, after all. It's the same with books.

    And as you've already now been told: No, you don't need a map. Of course if your book does well and gets fans and stuff, you can always commission a map sometime later.
     
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  11. RahnyJae

    RahnyJae Member

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    Yeah that's totally understandable, I wouldn't try to publish the same thing twice anyways.

    And that second part: that's the goal, my friend. :supercool:
     
  12. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    The map would help YOU keep yourself oriented as you write , but it's certainly not a requirement for a fantasy story. Nor is an extensive character list (of family connections, etc) at the front of the book. Maybe some people look at these things beforehand, but I certainly don't.

    I do recommend that you draw a crude map to keep yourself oriented, though. I don't write fantasy, but I did create a partially fictional setting for my story. I didn't realise, till I drew a map for myself (afterwards), that I wrote an important sequence of events happening on the wrong side of a river! Maybe readers wouldn't notice—my betas didn't pick it up—but if they had noticed, I'd have felt pretty stupid. (I've corrected the mistake.)
     
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  13. RahnyJae

    RahnyJae Member

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    That's what I was working on when I started to wonder whether the audience would need this or not. As a visual aid, it does help me with properly plotting my characters' travels to see where each country is in proximity to each other and to see which hemisphere the continents are in, but the quality is so poor that I don't think it'd be as much help to the audience once I've already told them that info in text. Or maybe it would, but I'm just too unimpressed with my art skills to confidently add it in. :oops:
     
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  14. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. I won't be including a map in mine either. It's definitely not needed, and can sometimes be a distraction, even if it is a perfect map. Your temptation, as a reader, is to be constantly referring to it, which can interrupt the story's flow.
     
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  15. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    Just reiterating what others have said, they aren't always necessary. I draw maps because I enjoy it and it helps me plan my world and also if there are journeys I can plan journeys using it. It helps for continuity purposes.
     
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  16. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    No, though I find it's helpful for keeping everything straight. Having the geography fixed prevents silly contradictions.
     
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