I have a question for those of you who love fantasy, science fiction, and other speculative genres. How many of you, when you pick up a book like this, turn to the front pages to see if there is a map?
I love maps. And if there isn’t a map in the front of a book like this, I seriously reconsider reading the book. I don’t know why. I just like to be able to flip back and forth to the map as I read.
Probably one of the most famous maps in the world fantasy is J.R.R. Tolkien’s map of Middle Earth. I confess, I’ve spent hours looking at this map. I have a poster-sized version hanging above my desk.
So, years ago, when I planned to write my first fantasy novel, before I bothered to type one word, I drew a map. I didn’t get it perfect the first time. I made a lot of changes. And I spent a few months brainstorming my storyworld based on that map. So many wonderful story ideas came out of that map. I think my storyworld is better for it. Here is the map for my Blood of Kings trilogy.
If you are working on a speculative novel, drawing a map is a great way to brainstorm. Over this past Christmas break, I drew a few more maps. I have several ideas percolating in my mind as to what series I should write once my trilogy is done.
The first is a fantasy novel. Here is the idea:
Kaitlyn’s brother Quinn has been acting very strange lately. Worried for him, she watches him closely. This investigation brings her to a disturbing discovery. Quinn is not Quinn at all, but an impostor. A real-life warrior fairy with wings. So, if this guy is a fairy, where is Quinn?
And here is a map for a dystopian society where a disease has killed off a huge percentage of the world’s population. So the government built this walled-in city as a way to protect the people. But things are not so safe inside the Bell, as the people call it.
Here are two more maps that I like. First, Eragon’s world, Alagaesia. I love the mountains called The Spine.
And who says they have to be land maps? I love the Marauder’s Map from the Harry Potter storyworld.
What about you? Do you like maps in books? If so, what are some of your favorites? If you are a writer, have you drawn a map for your storyworld? If so, tell me about it. Post a link if you can. I’d love to see it.