Fantasy Cartography

Happy Wednesday, squiders! It’s been cold and snowy here, so we’ve been trapped in the house for essentially three days. The small, mobile ones are sad because Halloween things keep getting cancelled or delayed.

Nano starts tomorrow at midnight, and I’m essentially ready to go! I’ve got outlines for plot and character arcs, and I spent some time fleshing out my main and supporting characters. That’s typically all I need to get going–more than that and I start to lose interest or find the story gets a bit flat when I write it.

But a friend mentioned creating a map for her story, and that sounded like a good idea. I poked around the Internet for a bit and found a couple of different options, but some of them were not terribly intuitive with their controls.

I ended up with Inkarnate, which offers both free and paid options, and amused myself making islands across an ocean for several minutes. I like that it was kind of like your standard graphics program, where you can draw where you like, and change the size of your paintbrush to change the effects on your shorelines and whatnot.

I did run into some issues, though not with the program itself. My story for this year, World’s Edge, is based in the same world as my high fantasy trilogy that I’ve been working on FOREVER. The trilogy takes place on a single continent of this world, the geography/fauna/weather/etc. loosely based on Europe. At some point, many years ago, I did bother to create the rest of the world, but who the heck knows where I bothered to do so. One of my many planning notebooks? A Word document lost to the annuls of time?

(I did look through my oldest notebook that’s still floating around. Found lots of very interesting things. Did not find this information.)

(This is, of course, why it’s best to have a system for keeping track of your story information. This is something I have learned over time. Unfortunately this was a long time ago.)

(Wait, could it be in here…? No.)

Anyway, at some point I created the rest of the planet, and who knows where that has all gone. Not me! But it did cause problems when mapping, because I could recall that I had mapped this out once before, but could not remember what exactly I’d done. Three continents, I’m pretty sure. The trilogy one is well defined. A large one across the ocean is the goal of the characters for this book. The third one…? Did I decide who or what lived there? Did I name these other continents?

(There was another species in there, once, that I took out of the trilogy because it messed with its themes, but did I decide to get rid of the species altogether? This is the problem with working on something for 20 years and only starting to organize things in the last eight.)

Did I name the planet? Bad job, past!Kit. Keep track of your damn information.

But I have enough of a map for what I need, and I’ll keep an eye out for that old information, wherever it’s wandered off to. And, I guess, if I don’t find it soon, I should probably re-do it.


See you Friday, squiders, to see if I survived the kick-off party.

4 responses to this post.

  1. I tried INKARNATE when it was just out in beta. I liked it. I’m just not a visual artist. I found a real artist to do the map for Of Metal and Magic. 🙂


    • My trees are definitely growing out of the ocean in places, so… 😀 Yeah, if this was for anything other than my own information, I would do something more formal.


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