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World Building

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Agazile, May 18, 2022.

Is it Novel Worthy?

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  3. Partially

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  1. Agazile

    Agazile New Member

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    Hello I'm really curious on people's thoughts on World Building and the scaling of it, I started making a map on Inkarnate and I'm quite proud of it but I've been told it's either too small or too big for a dramatic fantasy novel... I'm obviously not done with creating the landscape but I'm happy with the overall land masses.

    For those who've written novels and personal projects as I am currently doing, what would you have done differently if my map was your own work? Would you add more land masses? Make it smaller overall? [​IMG]
     
    Luís Santana likes this.
  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    The image didn't display for me.
     
  3. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    The blue square map of an ocean with an island shaped like a "?" is an interesting design concept. I can only assume the Riddler lives there, heh heh.

    Or maybe, the image is missing for me.
     
  4. FifthView

    FifthView Vala

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    Image not showing for me, either.

    My guess is that it's neither too big nor too small. I've read dramatic fantasies set in very small lands and dramatic fantasies set in large lands. The drama and effectiveness depend on something not really dependent on the size of the land, per se, unless the specific story you have in mind requires something really large or really small.
     
  5. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    [​IMG]

    Pulled the map from the code.

    I am not sure how I would know if it is too large or too small. I would need a scale to compare it too. But I dont think it matters much to a fantasy story. The story can happen over the globe or over a localized region and still be a good effective story.
     
  6. As pmmgpmmg points out, it's impossible to say anything about the size of the map without knowing the scale we're looking at. This could be similar in size to the Eurasian continent or to Belgium. It would make a pretty big difference in how any story would play out.

    Of course, it doesn't actually matter all that much. There is no such thing as too big or too small for a map. A map just is, it's the stories set on that map that matter. One of the best recent fantasy stories I've read, the Lies of Locke Lamora, is set in a single city. And apart from two flashbacks and the epilogue, the characters never leave that city. On the other hand, the map of The Silmarillion is huge by comparisson, same with the Wheel of Time, or a Song of Ice and Fire. The Stormlight Archive has a worldsized map in there even. And even being only half as successful as any of those would make you a big blockbuster almost any fantasy author would die for (I would go for even 1% of that success...).

    All that matters is the stories you tell. The map changes the stories, simply because traveling from one place to the next takes a different amount of time. Which impacts where characters go, how seasons transition, how world events play out and so on. So just use your map and tell the stories you want.

    As for the map itself, the main critisism I have is with the rivers in the bottom right corner, though it's hard to judge which way things flow of course. But it is very, very rare to have 2 rivers flow out of a single lake. A river flows out of a lake at the lowest point. there's usually just 1 lowest point, and if there are 2 then over time erosion will work in such a way that one "wins" and the other river dries up. Also, rivers very rarely split to form 2 separate rivers that flow to different sides of a landmass.

    The same applies to the river at the top byt the way, though I could justify that as not being a river but actually an island in the sea with a very narrow sea strait in between.
     
  7. Agazile

    Agazile New Member

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    must be a glitch lol
     
  8. Agazile

    Agazile New Member

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    Yeah i was trying to upload it/post a link but the system registered it as a phishing link, someone else grabbed it from the code which is nice.
     
  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    My books start in a tiny area but also with a map of the entire world the size of Earth... So. Who cares. The main thing is whether the map looks cool and is functional, heh heh. Worry about the writing, cartography isn't even the icing on the cake, it's a couple of small pieces of decoration.
     
  10. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Inkling

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    My books don't have a map. I as the author have a sketch map, because I need one when I'm working out how far and how fast the characters are travelling. It's also useful as a why of working out how the the geography and geology will be (roughly) and hence how and where trade (and politics and everything else) start.

    I'd ask you why you think your readers need a map? A lot of fantasy authors see books by JRR Tolkien or GRR Martin and assume they too must have a map for their readers. But you don't need one, as David Gemell's books show. What you need is enough information about the places and the peoples to shape the story setting for the reader, and you can work that into the book itself.
     
  11. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Why is it that world building and map-making keep getting equated?
     
  12. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    I have spent months making maps - and years doing the worldbuilding.

    As far as maps go, one mistake I see the more inexperienced cartographers make with large scale maps - the ones that span a couple thousand miles - is to make it square, which gives a distorted size of the polar regions relative to the equatorial zone. For example...

    Suppose one degree of longitude equals 60 miles at the equator. 60 x 360 = 21,600-mile equatorial circumference - or smaller than Earth, but larger than Mars. Now, let's move north to latitude 30. Because the world is a sphere, the longitudinal distance shrinks accordingly. One degree of longitude is now 40 miles, not 60, and the circumference is 14,400 miles. At latitude 60, these numbers drop to 20 miles per degree and 7560 miles for the circumference. The latitude - north/south distance - remains the same - 60 miles per degree.

    In real world maps, projections that don't account for shrinking longitude result in maps that show Greenland and Canada in the northern polar regions as being about the same size as South America - when, in actuality, both are far smaller.

    For my primary world, I split it into nine 40-degree longitudinal sections, running from +40 latitude north to about -15 latitude south, tapering from the equator. I have maps for seven of those sections (the other two are almost entirely water, hence not worth the effort).

    Geography became an issue with mapping out the secondary world. After more false starts and convoluted equations than I care to think about, I made a hemisphere map 'key' showing 180 degrees of longitude and running from +60 to -60, with the areas worth mapping marked out in a couple dozen individual rectangles small enough to where the distortion can be discounted.
     
  13. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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  14. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Best to ask readers why they think they need maps. It gets confusing out there in reader land. I heard from multiple readers when I didn't have adequate maps to keep them grounded in where the characters were in the world. I've even put out extra maps because enough readers requested certain regions. When you're talking epic fantasy and thousands of pages released over the span of years and characters scattered to the winds... Maps are semi-required. Some readers won't care, others will. Nobody ever said, "Damn that book for having a map!" but I guarantee the opposite is true.

     
    skip.knox likes this.
  15. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Yup. Especially with ebooks, I basically never look at a map. It's just too dang clumsy and there's never sufficient detail. But with physical books, I loved having maps, not least because it was so easy to flip back and forth. But with favorite stories (e.g., LotR), I would just stare at the map soaking up details.

    I very much agree that readers will wish for maps, but pretty much will never complain about the presence of a map. Or list of characters, glossary, or any other supplemental detail. If they don't care for the story, they just ignore all that. If they love the story, they'll be eager for the gloss.
     
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  16. pmmg

    pmmg Istar

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    I wonder about that too. I could take all these notes on the story that the characters will never present, and add them as some type of addendum at the end. To me, it feels a little presumptuous, that such a tale as mine would warrant the extra content, but...no point in letting it go to waste. Not sure if I will or not. Is a good bit of world building in it.

    And I do look at Maps. I like them included.

    Anecdotal story, Robert E Howard had said he had a map of the hyborean age, but lost it. A group of fans put together a map based on his writing and sent it to him, to which he said that looks pretty good. I'll just use that one. I've seen that map, and its kind of hard to look at. Conan deserved a better map. Course it has plenty of them now, but that was not what was presented in their time.
     
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  17. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    I do look at the maps in the eBooks, when such are available. And I will refer back to them later.

    What annoys me with the eBook maps is the teeny-tiny print - some of which I find difficult to read even with a magnifying glass.

    I used a larger type for the maps in my books - small, but readable.
     
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  18. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Never underestimate the desire for more from readers.

    I have maps up on the website plus in the book. Several readers got on me for not having all the maps in the books on the webpage, where they can view things better, so from now on I will try to keep everything up to date, LOL. It's kind of nice, I screwed up a map link once while editing pages and a reader caught the dead link pretty fast! It's like a bunch of editors out there, heh heh. I also published a collection of world info that expands a little on the world and gives a place for readers to study and takes notes on the Tomes of the Touched, which oddly enough, has turned into a habit for people reading the books a second time. Whatever kind of info I get asked about by readers, I've been slowly been trying to add and make accessible without emailing me.

    So! At least be prepared to offer more when folks ask for it, LOL.
     
    FifthView likes this.
  19. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    Worldbuilding for fantasy is essential. I've written a couple articles on this site devoted to it. You can find an example here and here. Maps are almost a requirement for second world fantasy. As for maps, I tend to favor the larger land masses like the one for Malazan Book of the Fallen because it allows for more story.

    I think small maps are a product of need rather than logic. Authors can be intimidated by the large world. They have to fill it up! And I suggest you do just that. Not in detail. Just enough to give each area or country it's flavor. You can flesh the regions out more once you decide to write a story set in those regions.

    Don't fall into the weeds of D&D worldbuilding. That's a trap. You'll never stop building if you go that roue.
     
  20. If you run a newsletter or want to build one, then this is the ideal type of exclusive content to offer your subscribers. Plenty of people want extra information, and this way you get something in return for giving all that.
     
    skip.knox likes this.
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