Monday, April 5, 2010

Drawing Some Maps

Got a bit stumped with my novel outline over Spring Break, largely because there was no real time or space to think quietly with Lisa and the kids all home, partly because I'm stuck on some point of view issues.*

So I decided to work on setting issues today after running some errands. Wanted to get out of my left brain a bit, so I pulled out some maps I have showing possible configurations of the world's continents 250 million years in the future. Then I started modifying them to create some of the geographic and environmental conditions that I felt would facilitate the formation and style of the civilizations I already had in mind.

Relative success on that front. I have two regions roughly developed.

The one for the Draconic civilization features two large inland seas, a bunch of peninsulas, and a chain of volcanic islands off the coast. Geographically, it's kind of a blend of the Mediterranean with northeast Asia, bleeding into the Central Asian grassland/steppe. This works nicely with some of the imagery and city-state rivalries that I had envisioned. Essentially variants of the Hanseatic League, Peloponnesian League, Venetian maritime empire, and Japanese Shogunate are all in close proximity to each other.

This one for the Serpentine civilization has a huge, Andean or Himalayan-style mountain range with glaciers and a high temperate plateau dominated by a pair of large lakes with no outlets. Then there's a lower mountain range that forms the spine of the rest of the landmass. Within this central mountain range lies another valley with a large, fairly shallow lake.

To the west and south of the central range range are tropical highlands and lowlands that experience coastal monsoons. Several rivers flow into the southern portion. Most of this area is jungle.

To the east is a large, barren patch dominated by rocky hills and flat stretches of sand, broken up only by two long eastward-flowing rivers that are the lifelines of the region. The entire landmass lies at tropical latitude; only the elevation of the plateau region gives it a temperate climate.

The sea to the west is dotted with active volcanic islands formed by the collision of oceanic plates. This configuration puts together the three environs suited to the Aztec/Inca/Maya/Northern India mashup I had been working on.

The next trick is visualizing how these two landmasses connect to each other and then determining the proper scale. I have an idea of what I'm looking for here, but I need to think about the distances involved and the latitude effects a bit more.

Also need a lot of work on the names, but that can be done bit by bit.

Really should work on the city map for Cortado next, as that's more relevant to the actual events of the planned novel.

*My thought right now is to go with a central character POV surrounded by multiple points of view from secondary characters; still trying to balance those out and thinking about whether to switch on a chapter or scene basis within the storyline.

1 comment:

Aaron DaMommio said...

Yes, let's have a city map. Love the name Cortado, btw.