In pirate stories, there’s a map where X marks the spot of hidden treasure. Just like those pirates, writers have to find their own buried treasure – or, in this case, imaginary worlds in which the story occurs. Even if it’s a real place, like Chicago, the specifics are unique to the fictional story taking place.
We talked about map-making earlier in the A-Z Challenge, so today I wanted to talk about distance. If you make up a world and a transportation system, all of a sudden the time it takes to get from point A to point B is different: there aren’t cars and well-maintained roads.
In writing EMERALD FIRE and now, EMERALD KEEP, Rachel and I invented a form of transport called a sandsail. After a while, we needed larger vessels, and thus corsairs and cruisers were born. It became material to the plot of EMERALD KEEP how long it took because the characters had to make it to Reghdad (our underground city) before the beginning of Daymonth (when the surface of the planet became too hot for humans to bear).
In maps, something called a scale tells the reader what the distance is – it could be miles, as in the case of Mapquest or Google Maps showing you how to get from New York to Los Angeles. It could be feet, in the case of trying to get from one block to a house three blocks away.
With that for context, I give you our creation: the Map of Persis, the first draft of it, anyway. We’ve added to it as we’ve needed to have additional places. But this gives us a great deal of precision in how many days a journey will take and where different places are in relation to each other.
Besides. It was a lot of fun to draw.