Maps are an important part of the fantasy genre. With urban fantasy you can get away with not having one but with alternate world fantasy it actually helps the reader gain a sense of setting for the story. In my opinion, a fantasy map can be a prime element of a fantasy plot where major events can be the built around specific places. Without a map, the reader can easily become lost in the world where a story is set.
I often receive questions about how I developed my map of Denaria. I’ve written about it a few times but I thought I’d address it more and also point everyone to a new page for The Bow of Hart Saga where I have maps posted for everyone to view. I hope readers will find it helpful.
Since the series is self-published, I had to develop the map for digital format with as low a cost as possible. This was a challenge since I originally hand drew the map and that was somewhat water damaged over the years. To address the issues with the map, I re-traced it on tracing paper with a pencil. Then, I went over the new tracing with a dark pen without adding the place names because I wanted the lettering to be higher quality than my sloppy handwriting. With a basic map, I then had it scanned at a local store and got a digital copy. From there, I used Microsoft Publisher to view the map and insert place names using text boxes. This made it handy for enlarging or moving place names as necessary for zooming in on areas of interest to the books. However, I was forced to draw arrows to the places from the place names which makes it a little easier to see.
While my map is a DIY project, maps by regular publisher are actually produced by an artist. Many of the maps you see in traditionally published books are stylized and add to the book as a supplement to the cover. The main drawback to maps in fantasy is that they are hard to see in most cases in e-book format. I’ve tried to provide zoomed areas of interest so readers can more easily see them. But I also include a few of them here and all of them that appear in my books on the new page as well as the book pages so readers can easily orient themselves and see the whole scheme of the map.
Do you like maps in fantasy books? What maps in fantasy books are the most memorable to you? Please leave your comments in the section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for reading today!