Mapping it out...
Thursday, I finished the first rough draft of Harmi's Song - The Last Wizard Book 4. The editing process begins this coming week.
Creating a fantasy story entails creating a rich world in which the characters can play out their lives. The original The Last Wizard (1995) was based in a pseudo-Nordic coastal environment in a village called Harbin nestled beneath Dragon Mountain. All the village culture and history aside, I created a map of Harbin to visually position events (maps below).
I labelled the significant places in the final version, and in the print edition the colours were transformed to a black and white rendition. Harbin became a place.
For fantasy writers, geography and an understanding of how geographical formations and features co-exist and affect each other to create a specific ecosystem of plants, birds, animals, becomes an essential tool bag of knowledge and skills when designing a place or a world.
The expansion of The Last Wizard into four distinct books where the central characters are drawn by necessity and circumstance into a much larger world than their original village has necessitated more map building. The value of maps for me include:
All the while that I was deciding on my approach, I was nagged by the thought that my stories don't really need to bother with including maps, especially rudimentary ones. Places are named and described, and the stories detail distances and times spent travelling and the destinations. Readers can imagine. The maps are superfluous. It's an interesting dilemma. Are maps in fantasy novels merely an unnecessary genre trope? What do you think?
For now, I'll complete the maps for these stories this week before I begin the much more demanding task of editing. If nothing else, it's a therapeutic exercise.
Writing is my passion. Ideas, opinions, beliefs, experiences expressed through language - through words and images - pervade and create my life. Writing is my voice, my soul, my self. My dream is one day writing will sustain my life...