Growing the map

Book 1 was only ever going to be a stand-alone novel. As I wrote, however, I found that a number of twists and turns had naturally reared their heads, and I ended up with more story than I could ever fit into one book. Sure, I could squeeze it all into one and have a big fat book, but I know a lot of publishers won’t touch a debut novel of that size.

And so I had a predicament. Book 2 requires my heroes to leave the Eastern Isles where book 1 takes place, and head over to the mainland.

Easy peasy, only I hadn’t created a map for that. So I set out to enlarge my map.

I have created plenty of kick-ass maps in my time, but I have always hand drawn and inked them. For the Eastern Isles, I had drawn this map 17 years ago, and at the time, had painstakingly converted it from lead pencil to pixels in a very old version of paint. It took forever and I only filled in half of the assets.

This time around, I tried Inkarnate, and was very happy with my map. I don’t have the early copy of the Eastern Isles on my device, if I can find it later I’ll add it in.

So anyways, I have this kick-ass map for the Eastern Isles, but no world.

I purchased the program Wonderdraft and experimented with generating landmass, but it just didn’t do it for me. I like to draw my maps by hand with my own brainpower. After several failed hand and program attempts, I went back to basics and did it ‘the old way’. WASD20 does some great vids on this too.

I started with an A4 sheet of paper, and lightly penciled in where the Eastern Isles are situated in relation to my landmass. I made them tiny, to show the scale of the world.

Next, I used some Fluffy Sand that I bought from Smiggle, and randomly dumped it on my page. You can use rice or beans or whatever, so long as it doesn’t destroy or mark the paper.

Once I was happy with the rough shape, I used a retractable pencil to outline the landmass. I realised afterwards that the continent on the left looks like a bunny, and the one on the right almost looks like an angry genie.

Once the sand (or rice or beans) has been removed, you can make any changes if needed, or jump straight into inking. Usually I’ll make a heap of changes as I go, but for now this will do. Time to ink it.

I shortened the bunny ears, and included the natural holes in the sand as lakes. To ink it, I used a very fine tipped marker, and made my coastlines a little rough. I don’t get hung up too much on natural looking coasts, it’s a map not a photo.

I haven’t started adding assets yet, this will come after I finish editing book 1, and all the other things I need to do first. But I feel like this is a good exercise to do now; being a visual person, I need to ‘see’ what I’m working with. Now that I have this basic outline. I have already started formulating the transport system to get my heroes from A to B as quickly as possible.

I have 9 days to finish editing book 1 before I send it to my beta reader, and I’m nowhere near done, so right now all of my energy is focused on fixing what needs fixing before it’s sent out.

May you forever hold Am in your hearts x

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