Hello fantasy lovers! I am so excited to share something special with you. Recently, I decided to add three maps of the Upper, Middle, and Lower Realm to the front of my paperback book. I had originally wanted to work this idea into my hardcover as a special insert, but when I heard I could do it for the paperback, I just had to jump in. I have been absolutely swamped with exams and exam studying for the past week or so (which is part of why I missed last Saturday’s post). My amazing boyfriend offered to take over the mapmaking process for me to relieve some of my stress. And boy, am I glad he did! He took my ideas and my mockup map from over two years ago and created something truly spectacular with them. He spent hours working with Inkarnate’s map-making software. I hope you all love them as much as I do!
When you’re worldbuilding, creating a map for your world can be helpful in seeing how kingdoms, cities, and towns fit together. Especially if your novel involves some sort of journey, a map can show you the logical paths to take to your characters’ destinations. A map adds an element of reality to your world and will absolutely make you feel like you’re getting somewhere.
Now, you can get into all types of mapmaking software that will allow you to customize every detail to your desire. But why get into spending money and learning how a software works with complicated instruction manuals that will take you at least a few days to learn the basics? My recommendation is getting a pen and paper or if you prefer, opening up a PowerPoint document and going to town.
Step 1: Understand the regions of your world.
Before you start mapping your universe, you need to understand how the world is broken up. Do you have multiple realms that you need to take into account? How many kingdoms or states do you have? How are those divided up: cities, towns, villages? You also want to make note of main geographical features that may divide up your land as well. Mountains, rivers, and forests can divide land or encircle it in such ways that can be important notes in your book. Go back to your notes from my Worldbuilding Questions series for help.
Step 2: Decide how to represent each place.
If you’re a fantastic artist who can draw beautiful buildings and detailed trees and mountain sides, you can skip over this section. If you’re like me and can’t really draw to save your life, you’re going to want to come up with some simple icons to represent your regions whether you’re drawing by hand or creating by computer. In terms of my PowerPoint, I used clipart of small houses to represent villages, a town hall to represent towns, and a group of skyscrapers to represent cities. Triangles became mountains, and blue lines became rivers. Make sure you write down your key so you’ll know what your icons stand for when you go back to edit your manuscript six months later.
Step 3: Create.
Once you’ve got all the logistical brainstorming out of the way, it’s time to create! Plan on spending at least an hour or two on your map even if you’re working with simple icons. This is a real opportunity to ground yourself in your world before you write your story. Really enjoy the process of creating your map. It’s fun!
Examples: The Three Realms
Written by a man lost in love, who unendingly finds himself lost in the depths of amazement at his own wondrous luck.
My girlfriend’s book is truly incredible and awe-inspiring for me. Her dedication and perseverance is something I truly envy. I couldn’t have been happier helping to build something for her book.
I’ve got a different writing process than Cady does. I’ve always been a bit off-the-cuff with my writing. Just writing what I think and feel. And I’ve always had a fascination with a magical world. I find demons and demonology a thoroughly interesting topic. The power of them… the enigma behind them. I looked at them in her world and wanted to see their presence more. As a matter of fact, in my desire to show my appreciation to my love, I wanted to help her in any way I could.
I came up with an idea of a layout for the Lower Realm and the demon race. They’re strong, stronger than the Fae by a great deal, but I felt that should play out in a more unique, organized fashion. With her go ahead, I began to design this race of being with a dark enigma. Their power should feed this mysterious Lower Realm, so of course, shadows, manipulation magic, and confusion should play a large role. I took her notes and began to write. My thoughts would move fluidly. The real trick for me is to let it flow, just write what you think. Then go back and edit what you feel is pointless and extraneous.
My idea: Demon magic increased in strength based on age rather than birth as Fae magic does. They were given stages of growth with their power growing exponentially at each stage until the end of their lifespan, if they can make it that far, that is. Their minds are ravaged by magic at birth; they cannot begin to control it. As they grow older, they develop a greater control of their powers and of magical foundations themselves. They gain the ability to think and comprehend slowly, creating powerful monsters who are shrouded in mystery by their growth.
The first stage is the Youthful Demons, from birth until about a century old. These demons are reckless and wild, happily charging into anything with the intent to play. They care nothing for their own safety and play without thought to consequence, often resulting in the death of others. They cannot communicate with others at all.
The second stage is the Elder Demons. These demons are able to take caution in their actions and gain the ability to communicate, albeit with extremely crude methods. They can use magic in its pure form to show intent and communicate thusly. They are anywhere from 100 to 5000 years old.
The third stage is the Ancient Demons. These demons are over 5000 years old. They have full comprehension of their actions. Cold and calculating, their magic can destroy the strongest of Fae with no more than a flick of their finger. However, they see no point in attacking foes that are weaker than they are. They can easily control Youthful Demons and can influence the thoughts of Elder demons. Ancient Demons are obsessed with their image and pride and tend to fight amongst themselves. Their struggles are capable of obliterating entire realms. There are rarely more than two in existence at any given time due to the difficulty of living to this age.
The final stage is Demi Demons, a level that has really only been hypothesized about by demonologists in the Upper Realm. These demons are believed to be so advanced, they have mastered every form of magic in existence, are fully sentient, and can destroy all matter with a blink of an eye. They would be hundreds of thousands of years old and would have shed their physical form long ago to be the purest essence of magic. Their power leaks magic into the world. These demons are theorized to have created the universe in the beginning of time and spawned the entire rest of the Demon race.
Each of these stages has been uniquely developed, and I’m quite proud of how they turned out. But, I’d love to thank my dear girlfriend for the opportunity to help write for her, to help write for all of you for that matter. The original draft of this, I jumped around a lot mentally and had trouble explaining details. Although, I have to say, Cady helped to tone down the extreme erratic nature to a slightly more controlled version so that this was readable for her audience. But the crazy erratic nature of my writing might feel more comfortable to those who wish to try another style of writing, so I may like to explore that with you in the future if there’s interest. Even so, these are my words and my interpretations of the mysterious world that is her Lower Realm.
This website will be more than just a place for writers to learn and perfect the craft of fantasy writing. I want to introduce the world in which my novel, Chasing Fae, will be set: The Three Realms. It’s definitely evolving as I write, but the major pieces will remain the same. I want to bring you, my readers, into the fold of a world that until this very moment, has only been in my imagination and on the pages of a Google Docs document. I am working weaving in a lot of details as I move forward with revisions, but of course, I won’t be able to weave in every single aspect without the writing feeling like a bunch of infodumping (which is something you want to avoid and will be touched upon in a later post).
I want my audience to be absorbed in my world before the book even releases (and before it’s even picked up by an agent). It would be a great indicator if my story is worth telling.
First, however, I should probably explain what my novel is about. Below is my current query summary. Let me know if it’s any good in the comments below. (Summary Updated July 11th, 2019)
Grace Richardson is a young mortal woman whose only concerns are providing for her family, playing her violin, and spending as much time as possible with her brother, Leo. When Leo goes into service in the Fae’s world as a mercenary, she expects him to return with the honor that he deserves.
When Leo suddenly dies in an unspecified accident, not a word, medal, or penny comes down from the higher ups. Suspecting foul play, Grace disguises herself as a Fae and sneaks into the Upper Realm to get some answers. She anticipated being in way over her head, but the Fae soldier who catches her fleeing an angry bar and discovers her identity only a day in? Not so much.
Now Grace is forced to drag Aiden along as she tries to work out exactly how and why her brother died. Along the way, she has no choice but to confront her prejudices against the Fae as she attempts to sort out the difference between the honest and the dishonest. Political conspiracies, demon realm escapades, and family secrets will all lead Grace to the answers she’s looking for… and some that she isn’t.