I have always enjoyed the study of geography, which no doubt is part of the reason why I like to travel to new places. I also have an interest in cartography, at least on an amateur level! My map-making skills have improved over the years and this current creation you see below is the current map that I am using for the setting of my book. The name of the central continent here is known as ‘Aria’ (for now anyway).
It is not the finished product as I do have to make a few changes here and there whenever I get around to it (another task for my already long list!). In making maps I always had to start at global level and work my way down. I know that some people start off with a small region and then work their way up, but I was never able to do that. My desire to know all about the world was coupled with the desire to understand the formation of countries based upon their geographical locations. How these nations would interact based upon their situation was important to me and my grasp of the people that I wanted to write about.
After many attempts and various designs (I have literally hundreds upon hundreds of draft maps stored away in folders) I came up with this. The map was drawn upon four sheets of A3 sized sepia card that had been ‘roughened’. I taped them together before pencil drawing and then inked it. While you cannot see it in great detail, each region of the map has both English text and text within the language I adopted for the country in question. In the process I used Norwegian, Russian, a mixture of Swedish/Danish, German, French, Old English, Gaelic, Latin, Spanish, and Arabic. As you can imagine, it took me some time to get it done and even now it remains only 90% complete. The remaining 10% is waiting to be inked when I can confirm the Arabic I have used.
I have recently come into possession of a few software programs that I might attempt to learn in order to enhance my maps and even create a few ‘isometric visions’ so that one can get a true grasp of the setting that I envision in my mind’s eye. Unfortunately, they all seem rather complex and I have little enough time as it is for my writing let alone enough to devote to learning design packages (although none of them seem as mind-bendingly difficult as Campaign Cartographer ever was!!!). Anyway, the programs in question are: Dundjinni, Bryce, and Vue 5 Infinite. Should anyone reading this have experience in using them I would greatly appreciate some quick-start tips!
In other news, I am still trying to get through Chapter 11 on my book. My writing has suffered delays due to work and life in general as I try to get things in order after my vacation. After having so much time a few weeks ago to write in peace I have now returned to my stairwell at work and the noisy environment of Korean coffee shops! I am hoping that this week will provide me with the opportunity to get the Chapter wrapped up. For now, I glance at the calendar with eager anticipation as October nears, not just for the festivities of Samhain (my favourite), but for the approach of ‘Chusok‘ — the Korean harvest festival (set on the 15th day of the eighth lunar moon). Early on this morning, Koreans perform an ancestor worship ritual with an offer of food made of new crops to thank their ancestors for giving them good fortune. For me, it means the possibility of four to five days writing without work!