Blog, For Writers, The World Building Blog Series

The World Building Blog Series: MAPS

Hey Everyone! Here is part five of my world building series. As promised I will be focusing on maps for your new world.

The size of your world will determine if you need one map to show the whole world or multiple maps to show different lands or regions of your world. Always focus on the areas that you are going to directly show in your writing. If you are only showing one land in a world of seven, just make a map for that one land to start.

Maps are a useful tool when world building since they give you concrete visuals of your world. It helps you when planning different parts of world building and it helps when you are writing your book. Having that visual makes it easier to anchor locations to scenes and plan out routes of travel for your character. It will help keep consistency in your story.

When creating maps you’ll want to start with a basic outline of the landmass or territory you’re focusing on. Keep the line work loose, since coastlines and borders are almost never smooth or straight (with exceptions like the borders you see between some Canadian provinces). Keep the general shape you want in mind but allow your hand to loosely work. It will create a more organic and natural look to your map. After you create a solid outline to your map start adding in your borders. Again keep your lines loose to create a more organic look.

Once you have something you’re happy with map at least five copies of the outline. This is easily achieved using the copier on a printer. Keep the original somewhere safe in case you need to make more copies in the future. From here you can make different reference maps that you can use during the world building process.

Here are some different maps you can make:

  • Basic geography map
  • A map of the climate or biomes
  • Cities, Towns, Landmarks, with Roads
  • A map of rivers, lakes, and oceans

You can make as many or as little maps as you need to get a good feel for your world. You can make an ‘everything’ that shows everything you need on one map. You can find different map ideas all over the internet. You can even make a fancy stylized fantasy map if you wanted to.

This process of creating and using maps is subjective. Everyone is going to have a different process, because everyone will have different wants and needs when it comes to their maps. Use references from the internet as guides and ideas for your own process. Do whatever works for you. You can draw the maps by hand on paper or you can make them using digital art programs.

Here are examples of some maps I made for my world of Terrivea.


Thanks for reading,

Lalia LaRose


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