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Fantasy Readers and Maps

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Devor, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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  2. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

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    Awesome info. I mostly do audiobooks, so maps don't effect me. Unless you read the whole map out loud.
     
  3. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    about right.

    big issue I have with the Kindle maps is the names are too small to be read. Taken to keeping a magnifying glass handy.

    been putting a bit of time lately into a global 'map' of the 'Eldritch World' - no features (yet), just the sphere, examining various issues with the day/night cycle and whatnot. that world is tidally locked - same hemisphere always pointed towards its sun, but has a 70 degree or so axial tilt, so still rotates. Lands of always day and endless night, with a semi-normal strip between. Go too far north, the heat kills you, go too far south, an icy tomb awaits. In between...sunrise in extreme NE, sunset in extreme SW.
     
  4. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Sage

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    I'm glad that most people don't care about real world geography. I'm sure most people don't know anything about geography and could nitpick the jaggedness of the coast or what way a river is going.

    Surprisingly I have barely referred to the map in Dune, mostly because it's incomprehensible to me (and also everything is a desert so it's not like one place looks that different from another). I loved the maps in Eragon and the Ga'Hoole books, especially when Ga'Hoole went to new areas outside of the map and they added new maps (and I got miffed the one time that didn't happen).
     
  5. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    Yeah, the map in Dune is hard to make sense of.

    In general I like maps. Perhaps that has to do with also liking maps in the real world (it's fun to navigate through a city with only a tiny map with little detail...). And reading Lord of the Rings at a young age probably also had an impact (that is one great looking map...).

    I find that it depends a bit on the tale. If it's a travel tale, with the protagonists going from point a to point b, then a map is important to have and I refer to it every now and then, just to track the progress. Lord of the Rings is a great example. They need to get to Rivendell and from there to Mount Doom. Having the map helps follow the story because the points on the map are what the story is about. In other tales, not so much. For instance, I never missed not having a map for a discworld novel. Those stories aren't about going somewhere. They're mainly set in one or two places and the exact geography is not the point of the story.

    As for realistic geography. For me, as long as it doesn't go against the rules of physics then I'm fine with most things. So no rivers running uphill. With an infinite number of worlds out there, anything is possible. And you will find plenty of weird stuff people tell you not to do on earth as well. From mountain chains which run at a right angle to rivers ending in the middle of nowhere or taking weird detours instead of flowing towards the sea.
     
  6. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    If there is a map I'll look at it, and sometimes its useful. For me maps are more an indication of how much thought an author has given to building their setting. A sloppy map which isn't realistic indicates that there perhaps wasn't so much thought given to world building. That isn't neccesarily a problem, but it does mean that the author needs very good plotting and characterisation to carry the story and cover any inconsistencies or lack of details in the setting.

    I create maps because I find them useful when I'm writing, I don't create them for the readers. For me as the writer, the maps need to be reasonably realistic in terms of geography, because its the geography which explains why towns, villages, fortresses etc are found in certain places. That in turn gives a reason for the economy and politics of the setting, which in turn gives me various options for starting and then driving the plot forwards. It also gives me many more options for characterisation, in terms of occupations, motivations etc.
     
  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    For indie books, a map might also mean the author could afford it. Cartography ain't cheap. Or, to be more accurate, cheap cartography is cheap, but good cartography ain't. Pretty much the same parameters as for cover art.

    I love maps, though I do find I refer to them more often in a physical book than in an ebook. Much easier to flip back and forth with the former, and it's hard to get a good level of detail on a phone screen.
     
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