Maps (or what to do when your characters are walking in circles)

When I’m writing I usually have a rough map by my side. Something to show where the characters are, where they’re headed and a few topographical features. If the poor characters are mostly inside, I have a sketch of layout of the house they’re in, so I’m not lost when I’m describing their movements.  I like my maps, but they’re pretty humble and usually as much a work in progress as the writing itself.

But recently I found the work of @unchartedatlas, otherwise known as Martin O’Leary. O’Leary elevates fantasy map making to a whole new level and has designed a process for generating maps with realistic terrain. Impressively, he has also worked on an algorithim for generating place names, so that they sound interesting, but cohesive, as if they had sprung from a real language.  (I usually steal my place names or use Scrivener’s name generator for inspiration)

For a real life version with an arty feel, there’s Map Stack. Here’s the watercolour version of Sydney:

Sydney map


And yes, all this is semi-procrastinating and largely because the latest video from Brandon Sanderson’s BYU lecture series isn’t up yet. And my small, only somewhat respectable word count for today, is possibly all there’s going to be. Ah well, let’s call it worldbuilding






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