A Lesson by SilestaRavenhart

Before you start drawing out your map, you're going to have to do a little planning.


  So you've created a fictional world and want to make a map for it? Please understand that there are many different ways of doing this, so if you want to deviate from this course, feel free to do so! This course focuses more on drawing maps for entire worlds rather than just a small section of the world, but I hope I can teach you something either way. 

  You probabaly already have an idea of what your world looks like, or at least the location of some important places that come up in your story. It may be tempting to mark out those places and simply fill in the rest of the world around them, but that will only get you in the same place as writing a book with only a vague plan. Either you'll end up redoing it (perhaps more than once) or you'll just never finish. 

  So firstly, consider the most basic structure of your world. Does the climate work the same as on Earth, or is it cold in the south and warm in the north? Or is it mixed up entirely with cold lands existing next to hot ones by some sort of magic? Is the planet flat our round? Is it fragmented into different dimensions and connected by portals? 

  Once you have these details worked out, picture the world in your mind. Sketch out the different continents on a piece of scrap paper. Get a basic feel for the size of the ocean, the amount and shape of the islands, and the size of the continents. If your world is flat, determine the basic shape and have fun with any waterfalls or edges of land. Don't forget to keep a notebook with you at all times to write down any inspirations that may come pertaining to the history, principles, or countries of the world.

  Once you have this basic sketch completed, take a notebook page and list the continents, followed by the countries in each one. Give at least a short description of each continent and country; jot down any specific ideas you may have about each. If you start to get bored or frustrating filling in all the continents with countries, take a break. It's better to take time than to start randomly creating countries that you'll only be unsatisfied with later. 

  Now you have a nice, solid plan for your map. We'll get to some of the actual drawing in the next lesson. Thank you for your time!


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Added on May 31, 2010
Last Updated on May 31, 2010
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I have been writing since before I can remember, but I first became truly serious about it after I turned nine. Now, nearly eight years later, I am in the middle of the second re-write of a novel - th..