A few weeks ago, I touched on maps for my story. Early in the week, I happened across a post by a member of the Facebook writers’ group I’m in and saw some wonderful maps that another author had been working on. She’d been using GIMP, which I’m not familiar with, but her maps were GoRgEoUs!!
So, feeling inspired, I decided to revisit my map of Gexalatia. I actually ended up with way more than what I anticipated when I started!
My first step was to find a map generator.
I have to be honest, I suck at imagining what my world will look like. It’s something that I’m struggling with, but it’s really cool that there are tools like this, which are actually intended for role-playing games, but can also be used for book concepts! I especially like this website, because it gives me a lot of options and I can build my own maps and character designs using the presets. It also gave me an option to see a random map, and that’s what I did until I found a map that was pleasing to my eyes!
This is the map I chose. All that was left was to find my countries of Ymber, Siccita, and Fornax. I zoomed in a bit on the middle and found the area that most closely looked like how I’ve imagined it and it’s geographic features. I edited the map where it needed it to fit with certain elements, like where there is water and such.
The second, and hardest, step is labeling!
Actually putting the map together was very time-intensive. I spent two hours or more the first night putting it together in Photoshop. I made some mistakes and saved the wrong file, and had to go back and re-do it the next day, but since I’d already done it, I knew where to put my pieces. It still took time, but less than it had originally.
Photoshop is a great tool, and I highly recommend that every author should learn to use it! It can take so many things and make them amazing.
These are a few of the elements I used to make my map:
This is one of the menus that is available on the map generator website. I simply screenshot it and cropped the parts as I needed them to put on my map.
These are pretty self-explanatory. I used them to build my mountain ranges, which there is one major range on the border of Siccita and Fornax.
Rivers and Roads:
This was pretty self-explanatory as well. These pieces were designed to be rivers, and I added color to them on my map to make them blue. When I used them as road pieces, I cropped them together and left them brown.
Castles, ruins, and villages:
These were really fun because they gave life to my world. I used them to mark where important cities and ruins are. The last piece was actually a plateau piece, but I used it to denote Paries’ Wall, which divides Ymber and Siccita.
The Finished Product
And there is a first look at an actual map of where my story will take place! As you can see, I used pieces as they were intended and as they fit my needs. Don’t be afraid to do the same with your designs! Get creative and think outside the box. It sounds cliche, but if you can imagine it, you can make it happen!