Why Add Maps

Why add maps to your books? Oh, for various reasons.

If you’re writing fantasy or science fiction, including a map can help to keep your readers oriented as to where your characters are experiencing the events in the story. Of course, if your world is fictional, you will have to create those maps in order to have them.

I originally created maps to aid in world building.

In my case, before I ever started writing the stories that turned into the Legends of Astarkand, I had already drawn a map. I used Paint, which is a terrible program to do anything in, but it was what I had at the time. As we upgraded computers, and technology changed, I would transfer that map from one computer to the next (or I would try to), but sometimes things got complicated.

click to view larger

The original computer used floppy disks (how archaic! I know). The next computer took them grudgingly–but only so much data can fit on a floppy disk. And what it really wanted was CDs or DVDs–and then the technology changed even more, and between one computer and the next, the disks I had written files to could NOT be read! Not even by the same machine. Oh, that was bad…but somehow I managed to save and transfer my maps (by now there were several).

And I kept changing and updating the software. We had an older copy of Photoshop, and I used that to try to make changes to the map and make it look suitably antique.

Why add maps - because they're cool

Why add maps? Because they’re cool!

Doesn’t that map look like it’s had a hard life? This is the fun version that I used on my website as well as on social media.

This is the black and white version that I put in my books:

At the time, I was pretty happy with it, and my only regret was that I had to shrink it down to fit inside the margins of one page. There was no way that anyone was going to get much enjoyment or use out of that map.

My second map, the one that I drew of Astarkand, was pretty hard on the eyes. Whoa–that green!

Why add maps - so you can see where important places are in your story

Why add maps? So you can see where important places are in your story.

I had fun turning it blue–but the shading made some of the legends very challenging to read. It looked even worse in black and white.

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Why add new maps? So I could make them larger and easier to read.

Lately, I’ve been working on updating the covers and interiors for my books. I added more back matter to each one, and totally reformatted the stories. (They got a little editing too, but not much).  After looking at the maps that I had, and realizing once again that they both had some serious shortcomings, I decided that it was time to redo my maps as well.

The large map of Altesse was a real pain to redo. It has hundreds of layers with trees and tiny little houses, and then all those hills and mountains. But I wanted to be sure that I made it look as nice as possible. It took forever just to tweak the color scheme to where it worked well when converted to black and white for the book, but I eventually managed it.

Map of Altesse - All rights reserved

Map of Altesse – click to view larger

The map of Astarkand is smaller, and I already had the color palette, so it went a lot faster.

Map of Astarkand - All rights reserved

Map of Astarkand – click to view larger

I really like how they turned out in black and white too.

I had to move the compass rose up and crop the bottom off in order to size the map properly to fit across two pages.

I included the big map of Altesse in Galthain’s Bones, and the map of Astarkand in the other three books.

You may notice that the little ships are different between the color and black and white versions of this map. (I cheated and used custom shapes for this one)

And, I’ve turned them into full page spreads in the books–and they’re gorgeous.

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