Lonely Planet for Fantasy
I confess. I used to be one of those fantasy readers who browsed bookstores by flipping through a fantasy book to find a map.
No map, no purchase.
If the book had a map, I would definitely buy it, rush it home to copy the map onto a larger piece of paper, add little castles and pictures and then put it in my notebook of other maps. It was my own personal Lonely Planet of all the worlds I planned to visit in my imagination.
Here's the irony.
I suck at reading maps. In the real world, I'm dyslexic. I can't tell left from right, north from south, sometimes I think I even confuse up and down.
Maybe that's exactly why it's necessary for me to have a map of my worlds. Otherwise, I can't keep straight where my characters are going.
Chris Coen blogged about this question recently. Do you make maps for your story worlds and if so how detailed are they?
What level of mapping do you use? Do you draw your own, or do you have a program do it for you? Or do you just steal a real place's topography and use that, as I did with Cavalier Attitude?
Originally, I drew all my maps by hand. For my map of Faearth, I cheated -- stole appropriate topography from Google Maps and then composited my own land.