There are many places to start in this enterprise. I know that David Eddings, to mention an author I read as a child, started by creating the weights and measures of each nation, the currencies, the cultures, then moved on to the bigger things. Others start with the story and then create the landscape that suits the story line. Others might take up a stick of charcoal or a paintbrush and create the map first, building the boundaries and the pitfalls that all travelers would face, then start the journey of their characters from there.
I enjoyed the map building, perhaps because I lacked, at the age of ten, the ability to write anything that resembled a coherent story line. Perhaps it was out of fear. ‘If I get the world all set up, then it will be easier, then I will be able to proceed with confidence,’ I told myself.
It didn’t help.
When I first drew my world, I did it using Paint in Windows. It may not have been as far back as Windows 98, but not far away. High definition was several years off and the going was slow. The attempts, seen here in the picture to the left, did not show the depth I wanted. The rest of the attempts were lost some years ago in the hard drive of a recycled mammoth PC.
I remember trying to create a topographic map. I was using the shading tool in paint to create mountains with varying shades of grey to show the elevation, varying greens to demonstrate the change in foliage, with blue thrown in for water and brown for desert. I wish I still had them, though few would label them as successes.
I used to love modelling clay, the big plastic bags of the stuff that weighed five to ten kg. I tried to create the map using this. The main continent was fifty centimeters wide and, after the rolling out of it with a rolling pin, it was stuck to the table. I had to scrape it off and, a little embarrassed about it, never tried again.
My true world map, the one that you will see in my first book, Power’s Wrath, came about in the last five years. Rediscovering my love of art, and realising I had a shred of talent, I set to work sketching it, then using pastels to give some colour. It was wonderful to have completed.
As part of this, I created cities, dotting them around there they made sense, some where they did not, and then named them. Where a city was in a curious location, I would, should it become part of a story line, need to explain it. It got my creative juices flowing, as the saying goes.
If you haven’t before, check out why you should try build a world here.
Here is a link to my book, Power’s Wrath. https://www.amazon.com/Powers-Wrath-Hourglass-Book-1-ebook/dp/B076HXPTHL