Monday, April 25, 2011

The Evolution of a Map

Early on in my writing of "The Light of Epertase: Legends Reborn," I was getting lost in the world. No, I mean actually getting lost. Epertase, and the smaller countries surrounding it, became too big in my mind to keep track of. And if it had become too big and complicated for me, imagine how my poor proofreaders felt. Every one of them commented on how much easier it would be to read the book if there was a map. This is a common need in fantasy novels, BTW.

Well, easy for my proofreaders to say, but what if you don't have the talent or software to create a map? That is where I was. So, I sat down with Microsoft Paint and created this gem. Hey, it worked for what I needed so stop laughing. I kept a printed copy next to my desk for my next edit and fixed whatever minor errors I came across.

Then I received a book deal from Rhemalda Publishing. (Actually, there is a lot that happened in between but I won't bore you with all of that. You know, querying, rewrites, etc.)

During the publishing stages, Rhemalda asked if I had any maps to give them as a guide for their map work. I cringed at the idea of showing this to Rhemalda president and super genius cartographer (I just learned that word), Rhett Hoffmeister.

Before I sent my map, I warned him 17 times about how bad it was but he assured me, "No worries." Easy for him to say; I was the one who was about to show the president of my new publisher that I wasn't as talented as he may have initially thought.

With much trepidation, I sent him my craptography. We discussed all of the details, including the direction my rivers needed to flow (which required a minor edit in one of my scenes), the need for connecting roads from town to town, and other important cartography stuff. (I love that word.)

So here is what Rhett came up with. I added the brownish paper background for effect though what you see in the book will be black-and-white. I can see a little difference, how 'bout you?

Pretty cool, huh?

BTW, please, no requests for me to do the map for your book. I think one masterpiece is enough.


  1. Thanks for posting this! I'm going to bookmark it for reference. I've drawn a rough map for my novel as well, and I have a friend who's writing high fantasy. A map would help her. I like maps in books.

  2. Hey, Doug, I know exactly what you mean. I too had to draw two maps so I could find my way around the two detailed realms in King's Envoy. Mine were drawn by hand though as I'm useless with drawing programs. Some day I might post those two childish early maps, they bear little resemblance to what's in the book!
    Because I knew I was no cartogropher, I wasn't embarrassed to send them to Rhett. However, I certainly WAS embarrssed when he pointed out their two glaring errors!
    Can you believe it - not only had I forgotten to put in water of any kind (apart from the sea) so there were no rivers, lakes or streams, but I'd also forgotten to add ROADS!!
    Sheesh. Thank goodness for people like Rhett, is all I can say!

  3. I took a map making course in college, but would still have trouble drawing one to such detail. Nice map.

  4. Gorgeous final map! The one thing (probably the only thing) I don't like about reading high/epic fantasy on my Kindle is that I do refer back to maps often, and it's difficult to flip back and forth. They really need a map button so you can call it up as a popup occassionally!

    India Drummond

  5. Thanks all.
    Kat, you are right, maps in fantasy is a must have.
    Cas, Rhett does indeed do a great job in pointing out our little flaws in our maps.
    Thanks, Ricky. Rhemalda did a great job. I was blown away when I saw it.
    India, a map button on the kindle (all of the tablets for that matter) is a genius idea. I don't know who you'd tell but you should tell someone.