How much of your fantasy world have you mapped out?

Mapped out: in your head, on paper, once upon a dream…

I’m not a map expert. I get lost with GPS XD

When it comes to maps for my world, I usually either have a vague idea of neighboring countries, and/or just a semi-clear idea of what the country the story takes place in looks like and where notable things are in relation to each other. Sometimes, I only have an idea of a single city location in a vague country situation and a few towns scattered around and maybe a river somewhere. I tend to have rivers in my stories for some reason.

Sometimes I try my hand at Inkarnate and once I drew how the characters travel over ten pages of a notebook but usually the map stays in my head.

Also, I have never had an entire Narnia thought up in my head or anything close to LOTR. If it’s not in the story, why bother? :stuck_out_tongue: That’s my idea, anyway.

So what about you? How much do you have?

I have a slightly developed map.

This one focuses more on geographical features than cities/countries, since geography is key to making good political maps. :grin:


Usually my stories will start with a “What If?” idea. What if criminals were magically enforced to kill spirits? What if a story was written from the view point of a soldier in an evil empire? What if magic was granted to those who knew the “real” name of the sky?

From there I’ll start jotting up ideas of characters, names, places and get a rough idea of how the first scene would start. From there, I’ll brain storm where that scene will naturally lead too next and begin outlining. As time goes on, the story tends to unfold on itself as I write, rewrite and tweak plot and character ideas.

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That cross mountain range is intriguing if you think about politics :smirk:

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Do you ever come to a point where you think you might have to draw the map out, or no? Just stays in your head?

The only time I’ve ever really completed a map ahead of time was when I was creating a world for Dungeons and Dragons. Most of the time I don’t even bother with a map because the story is focused more on the characters than the actual landscape. I may bother with a map if it’s requested, but currently my story takes place in one setting, A city, and I probably won’t even bother with a map for that.

I’ve mapped it out completely for my own benefit. One of the MCs travels around and for it to make sense in my head, I needed a map.

I’ll need a larger map for the sequel as there’s another country added in that.

I honestly just did it for me. I’m a dumbass when it comes to our world’s geography and was an even bigger dumbass with my own made-up one. So it was definitely needed.

I drew a map of the entire world and I look at that when I need to view their travel destinations. If I need them to be somewhere then I can at least gauge if there is a major city around. If there isn’t one then I can always add in a small town or something, give them a reason to be there. But it does help, I find, to have a full fleshed out map that way you can refer back to it as a constant in the ever fluid changes that happen when writing.

These. I tend to let the ever fluid changes make the map in my head :stuck_out_tongue:

So you’ve never come up with a full world map? Even countries that don’t appear in your story at all?

(If you haven’t, neither have I :stuck_out_tongue: )

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When I tried making a map in Inkarnate, I realized I had to think about ecosystems and climate and whether or not a forest can flow into a desert and then if it’s possible to have mountains just before the ocean. Also, whether or not I could have a mountain range in front of a desert, but the other side is snow country :stuck_out_tongue:

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Not yet, no. So far I’ve only really written Urban Fantasy so I’ve had the pleasure of maps being made for me :smirk:

But right now I’m expanding my map as I need it. The more countries that is mentioned in the story, the more I’ll add to my map.

Hahahah welcome to my pain! I was lucky I could mostly base my country on the North Atlantics and then Scotland. It really helped when it came to mountain ranges and snow and stuff.

So it ended up looking like this:

It’s not super detailed, but it serves its purpose. And I think it looks pretty :joy:


Yes, it does look pretty :wink:
And you have lakes in the middle of your country :open_mouth:

I’d forgotten that was a possible geographical thing XD

Idk why, but I tend to have rivers in my stories and no lakes. I can’t think of any story that has ever had a lake. Zero lakes. Maybe because where I live, there are no lakes nearby so it affects my writing? Idk :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks! :smile:

Honestly so had I but then I ended up with this massive area where nothing was happening and I hated how it looked.

There’s not a whole lotta lakes in neither Denmark nor Faroe Islands that have any massive significance, but yahh… It might’ve just been an aesthetic thing. That I’ll now probably use for the story. I’m all for map-vanity, hahaha.

Oh yes, very intriguing! Though I’m using those mountains as natural barriers, so countries divided by them won’t be interacting much.

My world map is somewhat based off on our real-life Earth. Not by intention; the hours of looking at and playing with world maps spilled into my creativity. xD

Tbh I’m not a great of a geographer, so I was really struggling with this until I discovered a thread that offers help to worldbuilders. There were a lot of experts in geography in there, so I asked for help and they gave it. :laughing:

So the stuff you see there is mostly geographically accurate ~ I even have plate tectonic maps of it!

Ahem, anyway. In my opinion, one doesn’t have to have massive world-scale maps for one’s stories, but it definitely expands what you can do with that world as one thing that happens on this part of the world could affect somewhere faaaaaaaar away.

Basically, it adds a lot of flavor and realism!

Instead of lakes, know what I do? Create nameless villages and add a bunch of forests and mountains and hills. Inkarnate gives you hill options :stuck_out_tongue:

Okay so, this isn’t for a fantasy story per say, but it’s kind of fantasy because I made up all the names??? :stuck_out_tongue: I call this the Map of the (other) World. You can see how clunky it is because I didn’t want empty spaces so I created forests and nameless village chunks. I also tend to carve the heck out of landmasses to create rivers.

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I actually tried inkarnet, but… I’m a noob and couldn’t figure it out :joy: But I love the aesthetic of them. They look so cool! :sob:

And hey, at least it looks like people are occupying your country. Mine looks bare as hell. (In my defence it’s talked about in the story how Bursaaq (most northern country) is not mapped out due to the inhabitants being super reclined and uninviting)

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Next thing you need is some empty ocean space and some sand to actually create it in real life :wink:

It could…depending on politics, scale of the thing that happens…if the people involved decide to do some escaping/traveling…

I’d rather my characters not travel far XD

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Depending on if its day or night the waters rise about 100feet
I’ve mapped both day and night maps almost completely, when they are finished they will prolly be thrown in my first book


That one took me almost 2 hours to make.

There is no redo the thing you just erased, button. So…you end up carving and recarving the landmasses and you make a mistake, add a dot of land and try to get it back to where you had it.

It’s a free service so I mean, it’s pretty good for free :confused:

Emphasis on this point XD I just stamped on villages. Idk if anyone owns them yet XD

Well, as long as you can justify your reasons as part of the story, why not keep it blank until someone decides to be a cartographer :wink: Which can be never :wink:

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