Map It

I have found myself with an odd obsession. I love creating maps. None of them are spectacular. I am neither an artist nor a cartographer. I am a girl with a fantasy life. I don’t necessarily have any purpose for these made-up worlds, other than to draw my mind and my heart out of the world around me and into someplace far more extravagant, dangerous, and–most of all–rewarding.

I first suspected my obsession earlier this year. I was organizing my notes for the big novel I’ve been working on and had a pile just for map ideas. I was amazed to see how drastically my map had changed in the past two years. My first map was something simple that I was toying with in Paint. The second map was a pencil sketch of the two countries. Somehow, the many ideas evolved into what I’m using now. But in spite of this evolution–and in spite of my whole-hearted conviction that I am currently using the right map–I find that I cannot distance myself from the other maps. I stare at them, wondering what characters and stories exist therein. If I changed the names of the countries, rivers, etc, these maps would reveal an entirely different storyline than the one I’m on now.

But even this is only the tip of the iceberg. Some time ago, I was talking with a buddy of mine who is also writing a story, and one of his characters jumped out at me. I was journaling one night and was suddenly overwhelmed with questions about this character. I would no sooner pen one question, and three more would pop into my head. I scribbled furiously, and somehow the questions spilled over onto the backside of the previous page with coastline and towers and gardens. Before I knew it, I had another partial map of a world I had never dreamed of before. The brilliant thing about it was that it was so different from the world I’ve created in Ae!

Even then, I didn’t realize how freeing the exercise was. It was last night, when I began sketching yet another map, that I realized how relaxing it was. After an hour and a half, I found myself absorbed in another strange world, itching to meet the folks who live there, to explore the Gatewood Forest, to swim in the Juline Ocean with the merfolk, to visit Orlos Hall and marvel at the history of its walls. Of all the worlds I have mapped, this is the one I most want to visit!

And you know…it really is therapeutic. Am I the only writer-wanna-be who gets kicks out of creating new worlds in maps I’ll never write for? For sure, I cannot destroy them. Perhaps one day I will find stories for these lands.

Pax Christi.


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7 Responses to Map It

  1. Kelp says:

    You could combine Ae and all the other maps into one ueber world with 50 different continents :D! I don’t think THAT’S ever been done before.

    I find myself doing the map thing a whole lot as well, though mine is a sci-fi galaxy with a bunch of different planets, with one or two that I’m developing more detailed surface maps of. I don’t draw them though, I just keep them in my head. I should probably change that.

    You are incredibly talented, semmie! I’ll definitely read your stories when they’re done! And if you ever want me to look at a draft for you, you know where to find me 🙂

  2. semmie says:

    kelpie! you came to my blog!!!!! (((((((((kelp))))))))) do you know how happy that makes me? 😀

    i actually hadn’t thought of combining all the maps into one huge world. i admit, the thought is tempting! i may do it just for fun. Ae, however, is laid out as it is for a reason, and in my brain there is no room for any other continents. still…i think i might give it a try. it really does sound fun. 🙂

    your galaxy sounds great! you DEFINITELY need to start drawing or messing around in paint or something. i want to see what’s in your brain.

    pax christi!

  3. semmie says:

    p.s. kelp : are you creating this galaxy for the purpose of a story, or are you just creating for the thrill of creating?

  4. Kelp says:

    Thanks, glad to be here :). I have read your blog before. I don’t know why I never commented though.

    I started with two stories, one a sequel to the other (though now I’ve pretty much merged them into one large one, I think) and then I’ve been having a lot of fun universe-building around them.

    Well, I’m no good with paint, but I guess I could try and draw something by hand and scan it(your art skills FAR surpass mine, I assure you lol!). We’ll see…

    Blessings! *hug*

  5. semmie says:

    “my art skills”…LMBO!!!!

    you are funny.

  6. Toge says:

    I LOVE maps! But I have not drawn a map except for school. Which is just copying the maps in books for geographical/historical purposes. You are so creative. I can’t wait to read your book and see your maps.

  7. semmie says:

    creative, yes…artistic, no! hehehe. i hope my book (and map) does justice to my thoughts!

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