Map Making 101

Movie Quote of the Day:
“Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”
— Rick, Casablanca

Yesterday was a total wasted day. I wandered around from file to file, trying to decide what to do. I read things, I tweaked things. Basically, I wrote NOTHING new. I opened issue 112 of the romance and stared at it for a while. About 3 in the afternoon, I finally made myself tap on the keys. I eeked out 500 measly words.

I think part of the problem is that I don’t have focus. I don’t know what to do next. I edited out that subplot of the novel the other day and I skimmed the pages. It feels like a lot tighter book and I’m pleased. So now I can’t decide what to do next. Start something new? Work on the sequel? I feel like I’m just floating from story to story without any real direction.

I was so completely out of my head yesterday, I left for lunch early to pick up my son’s new lenses (bifocals… you think a 3-yr-old wants to wear bifocals? HELL no. It’s a challenge). Afterwards, since I had so much time on my hands, I drove to the local drug store. I wandered around in there for a while. I decided to buy some graph paper and some colored pencils. I got more ocular patches for the kiddo and a Kit Kat (for an afternoon snack). I had thought I wanted to go to Braum’s for a burger (BEST fast food burger, in my opinion), but then it didn’t sound so good anymore. So I ended up at Jack In The Box and got their chicken strips.

Back at the office, I continued to stare at the blinking cursor. No words were forthcoming. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. My brain just felt tired. I hadn’t been sleeping well. Even after a very large Coke and three cups of coffee, I still felt dragging. I blamed the non-writing-productive day on fatigue.

Or maybe I just used up all my creativity the day before? Nah. Feeble excuse.

Anyway… last night, still bored out of my skull since it’s summertime now and there’s not much to do around the house (because it’s already getting hot outside), I made my way upstairs to my office. My desk is so messy. This weekend, I plan to get it all organized. There’s too much clutter! I took out my graph paper and my colored pencils. I pulled out the first sheet and I started to draw. I made a few little black dots, some blue wiggly lines, a black dashed line. I did some brown upside down Vs and some green cloud things. And TADA. I had a map. I named the dots, the rivers, the mountains, and the forest. I named the two countries (the dash line representing the border). I gave it a shoreline with some islands.

Feeling pleased with myself, I turned the page. I decided it was time to make a map of my imaginary world for the novel. I had already drawn a crude one in ink several years ago. Now I was going to make it more real. So I drew the map, colored in the water where the sea was, made the two land masses, with the mountains and the forests and the rivers. There’s even a lake. There are borders between the two countries and more borders between the four kingdoms. It was great fun. I thoroughly enjoyed drawing my maps.

The next map I drew was of a walled city surrounded by desert and a mountain range in the distance. I was in the process of drawing out the actual city streets when I got interrupted. So tonight I will continue to draw the walled city. I have no idea what the city is yet, but I’m pretty sure that it will be a future story.

I have Holly Lisle’s site to thank for all the great pointers on map making and world-building.

Now I’m off to go work. I won’t let today get away from me.

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.