Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day 3: Mapping Things Out

We all know writers have a love of words, but did you know Sarah Prineas also has a love for maps?

An interesting thing about hobbits is they don't like to travel, but Bilbo always loved maps. Especially Thror's map.

I love maps, too, with a deep and geeky love for things like magical runes and "here there be dragons" and the compass rose and place names like "the Withered Heath" and "Mirkwood the Great".

For fantasy writers, maps are really important because we often create what Tolkien called a "secondary world" that is, a world completely removed from the "real" world, with its own geography and history. Maps make real the places of the imagination. That's why you'll see maps in the first couple of pages of many fantasy novels, including THE MAGIC THIEF.
When the book was being designed, my editor asked me for a map sketch to give the artist. I started out by consulting a really excellent map of 18th century London because Wellmet, the city in my book, is very loosely based on it, especially Southwark which was, back then, the seedy side of the Thames. I was inspired by the twisty streets with the funny names:

London map

Then I started sketching, coming up with twisty streets and funny names of my own. This is a detail from the Twilight, the part of Wellmet where you wouldn't want to live:

my map sketch

Then the artist for THE MAGIC THIEF took my sketch and turned it into a real map which is right at the beginning of the book:

book map

I have a puzzle version of Thror's map, by the way. It's one of my favorite things in the world.

What a cool thing to see the evolution of a story map. Now be sure to come back early tommorrow because Sarah will be treating us with biscuits and bacon. Yum!


PJ Hoover said...

I love maps! They're such a critical part of understanding the fantasy world!

Vivian said...

This is very cool. Thanks for sharing!

Jessica Burkhart said...

The maps are so cool! I love that your map was adapted so well. :)

Jen Bradbury said...

Thanks for sharing this process, and for not making me feel so geeky for loving maps. :)

M.P. Barker said...

I love old maps, too, especially the ones that show buildings. And when I travel, I feel totally insecure if I don't have a map with me.