I always begin world building with a map. I sit down with a piece of paper a draw a country, a city or just a field with a house on one side and the entry to a forest on the other. Even when I start a story without a map, the moment I have to figure out something about the physical space, I start drawing a diagram of the house or the path of the river or the city streets.
I drew the map of Idhua a long time ago - spreading out sheets of graph paper on the dining room table and shading in woods and rivers with my mother's Prisma Color pencils. Eventually, I decided I wanted the ease of editing on the computer. I didn't have a scanner so I took digital photos of the map.
|Jigsaw of the Photos|
I like to know where I am located. I have a good sense of direction and am usually correct when I try to locate north. I like it also when I am reading to look at maps and diagrams on the cover leaves and trace the journey I am reading about. Perhaps this is why I seek to understand the space I am writing in as the entry into my fantasy world. I want to know how far it is to the sea or how close to the edge of the Forest, as the physical landscape is a powerful anchor and influence for a person. As I am rooted in the various landscapes of my childhood, my adulthood and my travels, so I want my characters to belong somewhere – or if they don’t, to be able to explore where it is that they don’t belong.
|Recent Topographical Map|