Monday, March 18, 2013

16961--A Strange Place But They Know Me There

It's one thing to go writing blissfully along, taking the concepts that make sense inside what I perceive to be my skull and turning them into communication that conveys those things to other people, but entirely another to be told those descriptions need to be turned back into an image.  Oh, I've been known to sketch out pictures from time to time, but I'm not going to jump up and proclaim myself an artist anymore than a few trips to the karaoke microphone make me a singer.

I'm a writer, but it looks like I'm going to have to be cooperative enough with my reading audience (which will undoubtedly number like the stars in the night sky) to provide a map, possibly maps, of Tarakk.  While I'm writing novels rather than guidebooks (we'll save that for future supplement material), the Theobroma series is introducing literally unfamiliar territory.  I think it'll be doing both you (and your legion of fellow readers) and myself a favor to work with an artist or some other manner of cartographer to produce something decipherable.

Out of all the lands and waters visited in the first book of the series, "Child of Fire and Blood", I think it's the least developed that will be the oddest to map.  Alban is frozen, dotted with cities and villages surviving its relentless cold.  Zadiasam is far more hospitably temperate and home to open, urban sprawls.  Even with scores of independent tribes, towns and city-states throughout the lowlands of Bentrci and highlands of Kz and Drakarta, they are largely unclaimed forests, swamps and jungles.  Mountains and rivers and lakes are easy, though.  Any fool can scribble those.  The Corican Firelands will be the challenge as I forsee it.

The Firelands are, as the name suggests, burning desert that covers most of a continent.  Some of the land actually burns with flames that haven't ceased for millenia.  Not the product of any mere volcanic upheavals, the land is wracked with anomalous distortions to the fabric of reality.  Existing as the aftermath of legendary conflicts involving mortals and immortals, its hazards are many and unforgiving.  Challenging for explorers and mapmakers alike, while the perimeter has remained fairly constant, the land's interior changes.  The Corican Firelands are regarded as the most dangerous territory on all of Tarrak into which precious few madmen dare travel and from which only the maddest few souls ever emerge.

With that said, imagine the enticements that have convinced those who have dared to risk life and limb and sanity.  I suppose people can tell themselves whatever they need to believe to go toying with things better left alone.


  1. The inner large area of fires reminds me of a place like Australia. You might start off with that basic shape and build on it. When I'm writing a story, if the landscape matters, I always have a place in the RL that I'm thinking of to use as a reference. Makes it easier to remember directions and landmarks. Although, that may be a woman thing; I always look for landmarks in RL to navigate. Men just magically know where they (themselves) are.
    Using an altered landscape from reality also makes things easier, because it automatically explains logically why the desert is there. ie. rainfall is affected by mountains and wind.
    Anyway, I'm sure you can do it. Start out with a blob and put your labels on it, then refine them.
    Good Luck. : )

    1. Yes, Australian Outback with flames, continuum anomalies and strange technological artifacts. Dreamtime on peyote. Yes, I start with a blob and populate it with populations and varied geographic features. I just hate redrawing the blob. Weird, because I don't mind rewrites.

      Also, men tend to navigate by statistics and women by landmarks. I try to provide both when giving directions, but it's funny to watch people try to use the method they're not comfy with.

  2. I used to make maps for my worlds but now I don't even bother...way too many to do that for...

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