I’ve been having a lot of fun yesterday and today. Over the years I’ve hand drawn a variety of maps for my fantasy stories set on Talera and Thanos. Many were drawn on the backs of pages torn out of an old biology class workbook from college. Later ones were put down on a sketch pad and I thought I was really moving up in the world. I’ve used those maps a lot over the years, and have added or edited them at times so that they now have various scratch outs and additions on them. They also suffer from my complete lack of artistic talent.
But yesterday a revolution in Gramlich map-making occurred. I asked the Lovely Lana to scan the originals I had and to send them to me as graphic files. I then began using my paint program to clean them up, to redraw faded lines, and to begin to introduce some color and some typed headings instead of the almost impossible to read scrawls that I’d filled them with before. And I’ve loved every minute of it.
Every once in a while I forget why I’m in the writing biz. Sometimes I get too focused on deadlines and trying to make sure I meet certain audience expectations. Sometimes I worry too much about whether something is likely to be published or not. Of course those are important things, and I don’t deny that, but none of those were in my head when I first started writing. I started for the sheer love of creating. And fiddling with these maps is bringing it back home to me. I see those areas of my maps that are yet unfilled and my mind starts churning with possibilities. I see a line I marked as “Trader’s Road” and I want to know where it goes. I see a place I called “Quall Valley” and I wonder what secrets abide there.
One map that has certainly seen its share of use in my stories is the map of the Island Kingdom of Nyshphal, which features prominently in both Wings Over Talera and Witch of Talera. It is mentioned in Swords of Talera but is never seen in that book. I’ve posted two images of one section of this map below for you to see how it looked “before” and “after.” You may have to click on them to enlarge them.
Man, the memories this brought back. Makes me want to go back to those heady days when I was first writing Swords of Talera, when all I cared about was finding out what happened next to Ruenn Maclang and his band of friends. Great days. Great days. As they always are when you are doing something for love.