Establishing Monthly Map Goals

The more time I spend writing Ontyre stories the less I seem to know about our world. I suppose that makes sense. I am the leading expert on the World of Ontyre, after all. I really can’t say that about anything else.

Literally, I could fill a book on geography alone, and like all the aspects of Ontyre geography it’s always evolving as the need arises.

How many continents? One right now: Tremjara. There are rumors of a second, Arkrish. For the moment, though, I have my hands full with Tremjara. My characters haven’t explored a fraction of it.

Tremjara, 2015 revision. Map: CA Hawthorne

Tremjara, 2015 revision. Map: CA Hawthorne

My latest project, begun early this year, aims to finally create the definitive Tremjara map, which has gone through numerous revisions over the years, the latest in 2015 when its basic features were rebuilt from scratch.

What am I doing now? Too start, I made alterations to the northern coastline (more will follow in select locations) and to some of the surrounding islands. The other major change was to Lake Radiance near the center of the continent, which is now about 50% larger. Beyond that, I finally formalized the continent’s name and added a distance scale (leagues, which are similar to miles because I say they are … lol).

And then the BIG challenge, although I didn’t realize just how big at the time.

I decided to add color.

It was shortly after that decision that madness began to set in, or so it seems.

I started colorizing Carrdia at the continent’s center, which is central to the series. Shoot me. It should have been easy because I know it so well, but I kept enhancing and enhancing (and still return to it on occasion), not just color, but details. I added a more accurate depiction of Royalty Island, the long-ignored marshes south of the Sentinel River Valley, and made adjustments to the hills around the Queen’s River. More remains. I’m not at all happy with the Granite Highlands…

To read the remainder of this post and see the latest map update, please join me on the website HERE.

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About Ontyre Passages

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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2 Responses to Establishing Monthly Map Goals

  1. Fantasy world maps are so inspiring – and just great to explore, as a reader! I jumped across and read the full post (commenting here as I’m already logged in via WordPress.com) Colour definitely makes a difference but it’s such a task. I built the map for my own fantasy world setting by layering it – the geography got one layer, places another, roads another and so on. One outcome was to create an eye-watering file size and eat all the RAM my PC had available at the time… but it was definitely worth it! Do you ever find inspiration for stories coming as you draw the map?

    • Yes! Mine’s in layers. The .jpeg screen shot I took of it for the post doesn’t do it justice. The .psd version is enormous and the layers many. There’s a layer for the land, which is actually were the water layer is erased. Another for the land features. Another for the flora. I’ve even done each region as a separate layer (Carrdia, Forstava, Mythwyll, Colossus Ranger, Frozen Lands, etc.) so I can turn them on and off for highlighting purposes. I don’t know if it’ll be useful, but it’s fun to do!

      Later there’ll be layers for towns and roads and, especially, other labeling of physical features. Roads, for instance, might be added to regional versions given Tremjara is so big they wouldn’t show up. I’ve already done this to an extent. I have a blown-up version of Carrdia that shows all the major towns. I can zoom in pretty close while losing minimal definition. Thus, the reason for the size.

      Speaking of size, I hear ya about projects like this done in the past. My 2003 version is childlike in comparison. The size was only a fraction of this one, almost a postage stamp compared to a poster. When I “went big” in 2015 all that was salvageable was the continent’s basic outline. From there I had to start from scratch.

      Inspiration from the map as I work? Absolutely! Last April when I was writing Torment Surfacing I was working on its location at the same time (Southeast Carrdia and the Lost Hills). Huge influence on the story, and vice-versa. Adding the bog between the Sentinel River and Knarr Range influenced Bk2.

      As for inspiring entire stories … yes. I’m fascinated with the huge island off the east coast (Sancthor Island) and it’ll enjoy a lot of enhancement later for that reason. I’ve even written short stories that take place there in the distant past. The island is perfect for an eventual, present day story about someone who’s descended from a banished Carrdia historical figure. Too, in days of old the island sat uncomfortably between the Emprensen Empire to the south and the Northlands Confederation to the north. There’s a lot of history percolating in mind for that island.

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