Just as I like to design, draw, and model the buildings in my stories, I also find it necessary to draw a map. This is most important when my story takes place over a large area, like Kingdom Come. Some stories take place on the far western edge of the civilization, others in the east.
I started writing the Kingdom Come stories around the time I had my baby. My wild hormones appreciated the outlet, especially the story that began with describing the honeymoon week for a new Duchy! But I digress… at that time, I also drew a map of the entire planet. That’s fun for me, I love designing coastlines. And I wanted to be able to be consistent if I said they traveled “east” to get somewhere, they must travel “west” to get back. The planet’s topography differs from Earth’s primarily in that they have a greater spread of water and land mass. Instead of two huge oceans like Earth’s Atlantic and Pacific, Kingdom Come has many smaller oceans and many smaller landmasses.
I can’t find the map now. We moved, and it might be somewhere in the garage, lost in a squished box. Or, it might be forever lost.
I wasn’t too worried about it when we moved. Sure, I had scribbled down some stories in a handwritten journal, and later typed a few other in the same setting. But I’d done that for other worlds before, stories I wrote for my own amusement. It wasn’t till NaNoWriMo in November 2010 that I decided to get serious about writing.
The first story and several others take place in a Duchy called Drakeshead on the western edge of the Kingdom. Fortunately, the general topography of that area is very clear in my head. But as I write more, and add detail, I feel lost that I don’t have that map. But, it is my world… I can make it whatever I want, I can even change it if it suits me!
So, I’m at an impasse. Do I tear apart the garage? There’s a ton of snow outside… that chore is being put off till the Spring. Do I want to wait, knowing that it might be futile, and I might not find it? Or do I want to take the time to recreate it?
I’m leaning towards recreating. Of course, this will probably mean I will come across it in some unexpected place as soon as I’m done drawing a new one! But I’m adding more stories, and although the location on the planet isn’t critical, it is important to me that I am consistent and don’t contradict myself. The more I write, the more intricate my world becomes, and the more difficult it is to keep track of the details in my head.
Sometimes I start a story with a very real Earth location in my head, something I’m very familiar with. In Under the Radar, the main characters grew up in a city I call Laredo, which is a very thinly veiled Laramie, Wyoming. I am quite familiar with Laramie, as I spent my first two years of college there back in 1989-1991. I later lived in Cheyenne, and in the story I didn’t bother changing that city’s name at all. Fort Collins, Colorado, appears in the story as Collinswood. The details and layout of the cities aren’t terribly important, but certain facts are. The major highways that intersect in Cheyenne do close at times during the winter, not just for snow, but for high winds. The leg of the triangle that connects Collinswood and Laredo is a windy mountain road, though it does not dive into the range, it skirts along the edge. West of Laredo is nothing but tiny towns and mountains. East of Cheyenne is nothing but vast open plains.
Sometimes I come across an image that I think really portrays the sense of place strongly. Like this scene from my friend, Nick. I met Nick Rogers when we were both going to VTC, studying architecture. (Unlike me, Nick is using his degree for its intended purpose. He is also slowly becoming Canadian.) Nick got up very very early one morning this month and went up to Banff, in Alberta, Canada, to take pictures of the sunrise and view. After posting them on facebook, several of us commented about how gorgeous they turned out, and he very kindly shared the images! I also used his sunrise picture as the header for my blog. Here’s the original picture…
Yesterday I bought a big styrofoam ball. Today, I’ll start coating it with paper mache. Then I’ll start recreating the planet “Kingdom Come” on the globe, and later transcribe it to a flat map. A lot of work, but fun for me and the kids! I’ll post pics later.