Fantasy Cartography

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5 Original Plans I Cut from The Bow of Hart Saga

Last week, I shared what 5 things I added to The Bow of Hart Saga over the time I was writing the series. This week, I’m sharing what I removed from the series. This one is a bit tougher since I had to think through so many years development.

1. First on the list is a major sub-plot. Once I really re-booted my work on the The Bow of Destiny and the series, I added a major sub-plot where events unfolded in a totally different part of Denaria with different characters. It was pretty good writing but very unnecessary as pointed out by my editor. So, I removed the sub-plot but held onto it for later publication as a single book or a novella series. Hopefully, I can begin sharing some of that in the coming months as the early portions of this could easily be developed into the first two books of a shorter series.

2. Next, I dropped additional books. When I first planned the series many years ago, I wanted to write between seven and nine books. I trimmed that notion to five books and then to three. I think three books were enough to cover what was needed (reference to the Withlings intended).

3. The meaning of the Bow of Hart was next to be changed. At first, I intended to write it much differently (no spoiler here) but the more work I put into the current version, the more I knew it had to be twisted. That meant dropping my original intentions and I think that worked out much better. For those who haven’t read it, you need to and you’ll understand.

4. Along with the shift away from more books, the plans I had for a major war in the lands of Shildra and Grendon shifted north which made sense. Fewer books meant less time to move into other lands so I kept the series arc as simple as possible – anything else was pushing too far. I did not get to show events in other places like Shildra, Grendon, Hart, Rok and several others. Perhaps I can write another series about those lands (and, no, the previously mentioned content is not about these lands).

5. Lastly, I dropped a very convoluted beginning that spent far too much time with Athson being alone and making long trips to and from Auguron City. That left him involved with no one so there was less dialogue. Also, it was just boring so I settled on pushing the reader directly into Athson’s confusing reality and a single, straight-forward journey to the city with Gweld while moving the ranger station further away and adding a few stops along the way for better context and plot development.

So those are a few details that were cut, and generously so. I think it made the overall series better, more concise. As a bonus, I can also share that I split the initial first book since it would have been far too long, shifted the title to the second book and developed The Bow of Destiny title. That took some doing but it worked. Next week, I’ll share more details I added, especially in The Bow of Destiny that made the book better in my opinion.

Thanks for reading today. Please leave your questions and thoughts in the comments sections and I’ll reply as soon as I can! Find out more about The Bow of Hart Saga on the series page.

Fantasy Mapping Re-Visited

folded mapLast month, I wrote about converting my decades old, hand-drawn fantasy map to digital version. Today, I’m sharing the follow-up on the process and how it turned out. For those who may have a similar situation, I’ll include some technical details that may make this process less painful.

I originally had a map that was hand-drawn but had water spots which discolored the paper enough to render it useless for scanning which would have been an easy resolution. So I had to resort to tracing the map by hand using tracing paper purchased at a local craft/art supply store. This process was easy to complete if a little time consuming.

I did have to go over the pencil tracing with a pen and finding the right type to use for tracing paper can be tricky. I found the Paper-Mate Profile worked best. Be careful of smudges though mine seemed to add a bit of character to the map – after all, what’s an old, hand-drawn map without smudges?

East Coast MapNext, since the paper is an odd size I needed to use a special scanner. That meant a trip to Fed-Ex/Kinko’s so I found on in the area. Since I was scanning only to electronic version I needed my own thumb-drive which I usually carry with me everywhere – so make sure to take one if you are doing something like this. Also, scanning paper can be tricky feeding through the particular scanner used – and no, there wasn’t a flat-bed that would accommodate the paper size. However, in this case the scanner had been recently serviced with new rollers so the tracing paper fed without a hitch. The cost was minimal so I easily had a digital version of the map. However I could only get a .tiff of the file instead of .jpg or .png (I didn’t want a .pdf until I had the final version).

At this point, I had a file of the map. I intentionally left the new version without place & geographic names so I could add them via my computer. For this I used a copy of Microsoft Publisher. I added the file as a picture to a blank, custom size and then added text labels for every name on the map. In adding these, I had to adjust size and font to get the necessary result. Also, with publisher it worked best to scroll using the mouse or the scroll-bars in the application since moving the picture threw of the text box alignments. But this same caveat with text boxes proved useful later. Additionally, some places needed to be pointed out in detail so I used the shapes function to select an arrow to indicate specific location details.

E_Auguron and N_ Troll HeathsOnce I finished labeling the map, I could zoom in closer to make screen-shots of specific areas so they would be large enough to see. If I need to enlarge them I’ll use Gimp for the adjustment. However, when zooming I found that larger labels might be partially cut-off the view. I simply moved the text box and re-sized it to fit the area I needed.

Now I have custom maps of various locations that I can use in The Bow of Destiny and An Arrow Against the Wind as well as free, related short-fiction such as What Is Needed . These maps will be added to the final copy for formatting. I’ve included a few screen-shots as final results.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

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About the Author

P. H. SolomonP. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.


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