Questions Regarding Designing Fantasy Maps:

Total posts: [9]
1 TheMuse11th Mar 2013 12:45:14 PM , Relationship Status: Browsing the selection
So I've gotten to the point of worldbuilding when I'm starting to draw out maps for the countries and such. I've been having some trouble with the position and location of countries. There are some Fantasy Counterpart Culture -s in this setting, the most noticable examples being an Asian-influenced country, a country inspired by Slovak and Eastern European influences, and a Western Europe influenced country.
  • I've had trouble trying to move beyond the countries normal position in Real Life and I often find myself putting them in 'too familiar' positions. ('Asia' countries are in the east, etc.)
  • Does anyone have tips regarding creating uniquely shaped countries that still appear to be realistic?
2 SalmonPunch11th Mar 2013 01:41:22 PM from Connecticutt, USA
I never asked for this
It depends on how much of the story is written so far. Its better to let stories write themselves from an outline then force yourself to a template.

Over-planning leads to boxing yourself in, and even when better literary devices present themselves your mind will try to stick to its plan, even if its detrimental.

You've mentioned all these layouts and I have to ask, how far along is your story?
"You like Castlevania, don't you?"
3 TheMuse11th Mar 2013 03:22:40 PM , Relationship Status: Browsing the selection
This story takes place over a couple different countries and I'd like to have them (at least mildly) situated to have as a reference so I can avoid inconsistencies.

I'm still in the process of worldbuilding, but I've figured out at least the concrete bases for the races, countries, religions, societies, y'know, that kind of stuff. I'm still working on creating names for everything and such. This setting belongs to a series. I know the basics of what is going to happen, but it will DEFINITELY be a while before I have a (obviously, semi-)stuctured outline to start writing from. Ever forward, but slowly; as they say.

edited 11th Mar '13 3:27:00 PM by TheMuse

4 SalmonPunch11th Mar 2013 07:01:38 PM from Connecticutt, USA
I never asked for this
If making maps aids you in your writing, then dont hesitate. Just dont box yourself in either.
"You like Castlevania, don't you?"
5 montmorencey11th Mar 2013 07:10:12 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
Last time I designed a map, I just closed my eyes and tore a piece of paper into some random sort of shape...copied that shape...closed my eyes again and tore another piece of paper randomly...added one side of that piece of paper to the drawing of the other shape...and so on, until I had a full isle. The borders looked pretty natural that way. Then I started adding mountains, rivers, forrests and stuff as I saw fit and the plot demanded.
Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
I tried making a map a few times, but each time created something appallingly generic or committed some hilarious sin against geography. So I let Dwarf Fortress do the work, re-rolling until I came up with something interesting. I regret nothing, since it's served as a surprising source of inspiration.

edited 11th Mar '13 7:16:45 PM by KillerClowns

7 SalmonPunch11th Mar 2013 07:40:50 PM from Connecticutt, USA
I never asked for this
[up] you are my hero for the day, congratulations. (for the reason, see my avatar)
"You like Castlevania, don't you?"
Hell of a coincidence, that — I have forum gingerbread turned off.

Anyhow, yeah. Once you've got a map, no matter how you end up making it, you'd be surprised how just having these sorts of things can help constrain your story in a good, Deus ex Machina killing kinda way.

edited 11th Mar '13 7:44:14 PM by KillerClowns

What I've done a few times is basically "flip around" the real map. So, if Japan is the northernmost country and Saudi Arabia is one of the southernmost, then Russia becomes the westernmost and India becomes the easternmost - that's the most recent one I did.

I only concern myself with geography because I want to know what plants and animals are common in which areas. I can't see a grizzly bear in Brazil or a kangaroo in Russia, so I try to aim for some level of consistency. I always change the names but in really lazy ways, so Japan would become Yobon and Arabia becomes Olofeo.

More recently, I've decided to forego proper names in favor of descriptions like "the northern peninsula" and "the northwest".
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Total posts: 9