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The Map is Where It’s AT!

As a scifi/fantasy reader, I really dig maps. Though I don’t study them in detail, they DO make it easier to follow along when the hero/heroine goes on their awesome adventure to save their world from certain doom and destruction.

When I first began writing the Portals of Destiny series, one of the first things I did was draw maps of my various worlds. They are pretty rudimentary as I have zero artistic talent. But it enabled me to have the visual aides I needed to make sure my characters always went the same direction when they traveled. Now I admit, I didn’t really do a scale to make sure the distance and thus the time traveled was completely realistic. I simply chose a distance by eye and decided that it would take X days to travel that far. I tried to stick to that as closely as possible in the books.

I recently stumbled across a website called ProFantasy Software that has all sorts of different software packages to create maps. I purchased the one called Campaign Cartographer 3 (CC3). They even have one called Cosmographer 3 that will do scifi stuff! SQUEEEE! I might have to check that out. I can’t do planet Kromin with the CC3 since the surface of their world is semi-solid and their cities float in their dense atmosphere.

I played around with CC3 yesterday and came up with a very decent map of Astra (if I do say so myself!). What do you think?

To see full size images, go to the Map link at the top of the website!

Today, I did the map for Volgon. This one was fairly easy since the planet had been pretty much destroyed by fighting with their enemies, the Gorkons.

When you read a fantasy book, do you find yourself flipping back to the map at the front of the book as a reference or do you simply read the book and forget the maps?


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5 Comments on “The Map is Where It’s AT!”

  1. Edward Larel March 15, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    I frequently find myself looking back at the map. It’s a nice reference for what’s happening.

  2. Carrie Daws (@CarrieDaws) March 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Cool software! When I read, I pretty much ignore the maps … until I’m done and then love to look at the maps to help orient my brain. I guess I have trouble putting a good story down long enough in the midst of the book to look at the maps.

  3. Ellen Gregory March 17, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    I’m a big fan of maps in fantasy novels and refer to them constantly. And I’ve created one of my made-up world too. I actually was using a very early version of Campaign Cartographer, which is no longer compatible with current operating software (was dos based!), and none of the symbols can be read by the current version of CC (I downloaded the free trial). So I think one of these days I’m going to have to do my map all over again. The best features of (the early version of) CC were the abiity to use layers and the ability to set a scale, which you can then use to work out exact distances! I also liked to be able to zoom in and out of my continent, and used to print different views for drawing on if required. (Warning: Map geek!)

    • shayfabbro March 17, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      I need to learn how to do the layers thing 😛

  4. corajramos March 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Cool software. You know I don’t ordinarily care about knowing exactly where things are when I read, but it is nice to have when some particular question comes up, to have it to refer to.

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