Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's in a Wor(l)d?

As an author, I seek to breathe life into the novels I write.  A tremendous amount of energy goes into the development of each character, not simply their personality and story within the framework of a book, but their history and background which the reader may never see.

The same amount of planning goes into the surrounding world.

Nestled among towering evergreens and worked into the contours of the surrounding landscape, the human village of Cathedral is the first settlement the characters encounter in Escaping Destiny.  As the story unfolds, the heroes travel to Raven's Roost and Node before finally venturing into the Wildlands.  Other locations are mentioned in passing, but never explored.

When you create a fictional world to hold a novel, the little details become important.  Environment, terrain, and habitat are just as critical as the creatures that live in those places.  Successful towns and cities are historically located along trade routes; the hubs which a civilization revolves around tend to have significant transportation advantages in the form of major roads and waterways.

Several years ago, in preparation for writing Escaping Destiny, I sketched out the land of Tapestry in a spiral bound notebook, drawing the world in blue ink.  It was a "back of the napkin" moment in my world as the world came to life on lined paper.  Thousands of miles of landscape were created, forming an intricate, living world in which to place the story.  When it became clear that the characters' main form of transportation would be on foot, I found it necessary to dramatically reduce the size of the world simply because of the time it would take for the story to travel from one location to the next.

The first map for the Tapestry series is completed, focusing solely on the places explored in Escaping Destiny.  Additional expanded maps will be released with each sequel. (The next book in the series, Lost Within, will be published in February 2012.)  When I originally laid out the storyline for the trilogy, I didn't anticipate Escaping Destiny being as wildly popular or as well-received as it has been.  With an entire world, countless cultures, and a myriad of landscapes left completely unexplored, all I will say at this point is that the world of Tapestry will continue beyond the original three books.

To create the map of Tapestry, I began with an actual map from the 1800s.  After digitally repairing the stains, creases and tears - and removing all of the place names - I began moving, deleting, and altering the existing terrain.  Countless hours later, my a detailed mirror of my original sketch appeared and the first of several maps of the world of Tapestry was completed.


  1. It's amazing how much hard work goes into writing a novel. Like you said never mind the characters, look how much effort goes into just creating the Map. I guess in your books the Map and towns are characters too so detail is very important.

  2. Thanks for the comment! What's crazy is the amount of work an indie author puts in behind the scenes. Just for fun (and perhaps a bit of a "how to" for aspiring indie authors) I may detail the steps involved. My next novel will be published in May, so let me see what I can do to illuminate the process. :)

  3. Indeed I would love to see a little more on how the whole process works in writing a book.

  4. RATES: I'm sketching out an outline and think I can make it as succinct (an hopefully interesting) as possible. lol