The purpose of Maps Maps and Maps
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
My wife game me a book on writers maps for Valentines Day. This was most unexpected, because she has not been a great fan of the book so far. It only shows you can be wrong about people. And I regret my tendency to think the worst of the most important person in my life (save G_D.)
As a result of what I have been reading, I have decided to include a map in the 2nd book, to help focus the book and the series. I feel that it will help the reader gain a better understanding of the journey of Sarah Salter. I hope it would add value to the whole product. Maybe even add a bit of mystery?
I also wonder why I didn't think of this before, and how helpful it would have been to me as I penned Book one. It would have grounded the story and maybe make it easier to follow. Besides if it isn't mapped then it probably has to be described in words.
From my point of view, it will clarify what is similar and what is different in the Green Dimension. After all you can map a brain and part of the body, and you can map an area, which may create other opportunities for my imagination to roam. According to Piati et al, (2009, pp 1+2), if the story has a spatial issue then it can be mapped, to resolve issues. It is arguably where literature and geography merge. It would be exciting to include one on the website as well as in the book.
In literature, maps are used to describe journeys, and to help people plan where they want to go. Maps are aslo well used art form within fiction, and have appeared in books from the Lord of the rings, to Treasure Island. The Harry Potter books have maps of Hogwarts, and these help ground the reader in the one fictional place. Even though it is made up it takes on a life of its own.
The maps you find in books are sometimes extravagant, and sometimes simple. Lewis-Jones (2018) points out that even the blank spaces on maps can encourage the reader to use their imagination, which is after all one of the key benefits of books.
".maps are spellbinding for what they show, as much as for what is left unanswered" (Lewis-Jones & Sibley, 2018, pp.39.)
I have done some basic research on Pinterest, Deviant Art and other sites, and have encountered a few interesting ideas. These include maps with comedy thrown in, and others with a series of symbols. But I am conscious that it the map includes a place then it has to be mentioned at least once.
My initial thoughts were to start a competition on either Deviant Art or Freelancer, to design it for me. I thought that this was truly the work of a graphic designer, or cartographer, and probably outside of my skill set. This way I can pick the best and not get stuck with something I do not want.
I have attempted a map of my own, as a kind of very rough draft, but maybe in the future will ask the competitors to liven it up and be creative. I have been thinking about all that needs to be done. My objective would be to direct the cartographer, rather than let them direct me. It is through this map, that I will draw the reader into the story, and route the adventures in a set place.
The country of Toured is an urban myth and a reference to the mysterious "Man from Toured," who allegedly appeared in Tokyo airport in the 60s. To learn more type Man from Toured into any decent internet search. It is conspiracy theory of course (probably).
I had the time to think some more about it when on holiday, in Bansko in March 2019. The scenery inspired me somehow to think beyond my box, not that I have ever really been aware of the box anyway. But I have always loved piste maps, and have found them crucial to getting a full mountain experience when skiing.
But for Celtishia, I envision a map with artistic pictures of shipwrecks, and compasses, and people and round houses. I am hoping for something that captures the imagination and leads the reader on a journey of discovery. In my mind, I see the green land, floating in mystery. The sort of place you would want to visit.
Ideally there would have been trees with tree houses, and references to catacombs under ground. And a huge snow covered mountain near Wales.
As the second book will have canals in it, there should be a whole network of them, leading the reader from the entry point to their destination.
The needs to be a basic map of the British Islands, with a land bridge between Ireland and the U.K. mainland. This will make it all into one island with the Irish Sea becoming the Great Irish Cove / Bay.
I will probably make the Scotia Region to include half of Scotland and what we know as Northern Ireland. This is to match the Ancient tale of an Egyptian Princess who settled there called Scotia. The Picts will probably occupy the remaining part of Scotland.
The City Of Plymouth, will be called the City of Devonport. And may even need a map of its own as well, to illustrate the canal and monorail, (that in this dimension doesn't exist.)
The City of Birmingham is called Ringham, and the Capital of Celtishia is Cardiff, which should be marked by a crown or a palace. There will also need to be a Sea-Town around the Isle of Wight area. Ideally I would like there to be room for the Channel Islands as well.
Feelings about Change.
I don't regret changing the landscape, of the UK, just for my story, as I have often wanted things to be different. Fox example, I would love to ski in the UK, but we haven't got the Alps. In a new dimension, I could do whatever I liked and let my imagination go wild.
This is how it worked out.
I drew the map by hand using specially purchased pencils. I then placed in grid lines, and put the whole thing through various filters on my phone.
I came accross the idea for an alternative compass from a sermon by Paul Harcourt of New Wine, who introduced the idea of Nudge, Explain, Share and Wisdom. I thought this would be a good way to live life and suitable for our characters. Wisdom got changed to Gunwise, to indicate the wise way to live when under fire from persecutors.
Lewis Jones & Sibley (2018), The Writers Map,Thames and Hudson, London, pp 39.
Piatti B , Bär HR , Reuschel AK , Hurni L and Cartwright W, (2009), Mapping Literature, towards a geography of fiction, Institute of Cartography, pp 1,2.