Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cartography Anyone?

George R.R. Martin uses them, C.J. Cherryh uses them, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman uses them, even J. R. R. Tolkein uses them. I’m talking about maps.

While I haven’t included any in my books, when I first conceived the idea for Magical Misfire (which at that time was known as Shades of Errol Flynn) I spent considerable time and effort creating maps for my fantasy world - three large ones (one for each continent) and probably half a dozen smaller ones that overlapped a bit but showed my heroine’s journey south.

The above map gives you an idea of why these maps are not included in my books. A cartographer I’m not. LOL

But aside from being a great way to procrastinate instead of getting down to the actual writing, the maps were a great help in figuring out where my characters were and how far they had to go. I never had to wonder what happens next, I could see it on the map. All I had to figure out is what I could throw at them as they travelled from point A to point B. It was a great help, especially in a multi-book series

That being said, I was surprised that many authors, and readers, don’t like maps to be included. So I decided to do a little digging and came up with this list of pros and cons about including maps:

They give you a better perspective of the world you’re about to immerse yourself in.
They let you see where the characters are and which way they’re heading.
They can foreshadow what’s to come.
Lets you keep tabs on who’s doing what.
For the writer, they can keep you on track or give you incentive to keep going.

They’re distracting, pulling the reader away from the story to continually check the map.
Sometimes the map doesn’t match the book, which can be confusing and/or frustrating.
More time and effort can be spent on the map than the story making for a poor reading experience.

It’s funny, but the more research I did, the more I came up with people who love maps. I have plans in the future (way, way in the future) for a seven book series that’s set on a different world and I’m hoping to sweet talk one of my nephews, who’s into fantasy world-building, to come up with some maps for me to include. There’s no epic journey connecting these books, I just think it would be really cool.

Some day I’d like to re-do the maps for Magical Misfire, maybe in colour. It might be just for my own pleasure, or maybe I could offer a print of one of the large ones as a contest prize. Now where’d I leave that oversized sketchbook? ;-)

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,006 words total
Down by about 300 words last week. I guess I was more to the point. But I’m reminded that the week before I didn’t get any other writing done. This week was also a busy one, but I think I’m getting a little better at setting my priorities.

Goodreads Reviews
406 words total
Not only did I find the time to read four more books, I also took time to write reviews for them. Maybe I’ll even get around to updating my Goodreads. LOL

0 pages total
Okay, in my defense, I keep forgetting I have a book sitting there waiting to be edited. How sad is that?

New Words
2,559 words total
I wrote about 2000 words on Wandering Wizards, which made me very happy. It would have been more, but just as I was on a roll with it Saturday night, the hubby wanted to watch TV. I guess I’ll have to start rolling earlier. LOL

The other 500 words were on my new wizard story. To be perfectly honest, it could have been a lot more if I hadn’t let reading time spill over (take over is more like it) into writing time. Blame the authors of the books I read last week. I really need to find a mediocre book to read next so this doesn’t happen again.

This Week’s Goals:
New words on Wandering Wizards
New words on Mercy
Start next round of edits on Elemental Earth

Last week I met two out of four goals. I still have not got around to finishing that bonus post, nor did I spare a thought for An Elemental Spirit. So they’re both coming off the list until I get myself a little more organized. I’m still struggling to get into a routine, but at least I’m getting some words in, so I’m pretty happy about it.

This week’s excerpt we're back to Wandering Wizards:

Aracelia sat back with a sigh, wishing there was more she could do for the young wizard. He had such a kind soul, and was such a dear friend to her granddaughter. She could almost believe he had elf blood in his lineage. With a shrug she waved her hand in front of the mirror to activate it again. No messy bowls of oil her.

Paranithel’s image appeared in the glass and she had to smile at the picture he presented. He’d let his hair and beard grow, both white with age, and he was wearing an absurd conical shaped hat on his head. Still, he had aged well, for a human.

“My dear Aracelia, I have been waiting to hear from you.”

“You knew it would take several days to energize the stone,” she said mildly.

“Then it is done?”

“Yes,” she said with a degree of satisfaction. “Sir Howard has the talisman and I daresay enough power to last him several months.”

“Good. I know you had reservations about gifting a human with elven magic--”

“No longer,” she said, shaking her head. “If ever there was someone worthy, it is he.” The elf hesitated a moment, then added, “And I believe it is safer for him to be using elven, rather than human magic.”

Paranithel looked at her sharply. “You believe Anakaron is rising?”

“I believe there is something in the offing, and I do not believe it bodes well for either human or elf. What have your cards told you?”

“They show only darkness, an uncertain future.”

“What does Kiranthus have to say on the matter?”

“Thackery,” he corrected automatically. “He has never put much stock in signs or portents. He believes if Anakaron is indeed on the move, it is only to fulfill a personal vendetta against him.”

“As ever, he is short-sighted. Should the blood mage rise, we will all suffer,” she said.

Paran appeared to lean closer to the scrying bowl to study her. “There is something you’re not telling me. What is it?”

She hesitated a fraction, then said quietly, “We have lost contact with the Wild Woods Realm.”

He pulled back, shock etched on his face. “Wild Woods? How is this possible?”

“I do not know.”

“How close will Jessica’s route take her to the realm?”

Though she had given Jessica a charm to prevent her from being spied upon through the art of scrying, they were still able to track her movements.

“Too close, my friend. Too close.”

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