Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Every Story Deserves a Map: inspiration & spark

This post is Part 2 of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Find more map-making content in my Cartography Directory.

In Part 1 of this series, I shared some of the reasons I love making maps. Fun and games aside, I've come to see maps as powerful tools that enhance the stories they accompany. Most authors commission their maps during publication, and the resulting artwork is great for readers. But the mapping process impacts the storyteller, and that world-building juice is best unleashed while the manuscript is young.

Whether invented or historical, the setting of a fictional story is only as real as the writer's imagination. Mapping that setting immerses writers in their worlds, solidifying the core geography and bringing hazy zones into vivid detail. Borders become defined, travel routes are specified, and relations between regions gain depth in the writer's mind. All this detail swirls in the background as the writer works, and it manifests as extra realism in the manuscript.

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

In addition to enhancing the story itself, a map also motivates the writer to keep at it. Before a manuscript is ready to publish, it gets very little love. People can't engage a half-polished draft, and the long road to publication is lonely and discouraging. But a map opens conversations about the story in progress, and even the simplest feedback can boost a writer's sense of purpose.

While working on my Tales of the Known World saga, I found that maps were the perfect way to share my creativity with others. My maps garnered feedback and questions that helped me feel connected and passionate, even during difficult times. Most writers have trouble devoting the long-term energy their manuscripts need, and a map is the single best way to get encouragement to fuel the fire.

That's it for this series! Check out my latest inspirations for more.

Download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.

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