Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Shareable Saturday, where I share my favorite writing resources. Last week I shared with you guys a worksheet I created to outline scenes for your novel. This week I’m bringing you a hidden gem that every fantasy writer will want in their back pocket.
A Visual Component of a Non-Visual Format
If you’re a creative like me, the reason you write is because visual art just isn’t your forte. Okay that isn’t the entire reason I write, but I would be lying if I said I hadn’t wished more than once that I could trade my skill for the written word for a talent at drawing or graphic art.
But that’s neither here nor there. Writing is the gift I have, and I am grateful for it. Drawing is something I think very little about anymore, at least until it comes time to think about the god damn map of my world. Then I start swearing. A lot.
It’s a uniquely fantasy writer problem, isn’t it, needing a map? And while, of course, a map isn’t actually a requirement for fantasy novel, I’ve found it is certainly appreciated.
Which is why I am so glad that I stumbled across Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator several years ago.
Because, you see, not only am I not particularly adept at visual art, I actually have a really hard time conceptualizing my worlds as physical places as well. My writing style lends itself more to interpersonal relationships rather than relying on literal worldbuilding, and invariably I am almost done with a first draft before I realize I have no idea where anything is in my setting.
So, maybe the map generator isn’t as useful for people who already have a general idea of what their landscape looks like. But for me, it was a godsend.
In fact, playing with the map generator is one of the first things I do when I start fleshing out a new idea, because even if I don’t end up needing or using a map it is still really useful to generate ideas about the world. And that’s where the value of the generator truly lies: in its ability to stimulate creativity in a way I am unable to do for myself.
More Sliders Than You Can Shake a Stick At
Now I’m gonna be super upfront with you guys. I still have no idea how a lot of the features of Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator even work. A lot of times the maps it comes up with are way too busy for my needs. Usually, even when I find a map I like based on my own specifications, I still end up tweaking it. A shift of a border here, a river deleted there.
That’s the really great thing about this generator: the map you generate is not a static image. It allows for modifications on the spot. You can then download the image of the map you’re happy with, or simply save its unique code to upload later if you want to continue playing with it.
One time I generated a map that had a shape I really liked, but I was not quite satisfied with the way the borders were drawn. So, I printed it out on extra large paper and traced the shape of the continent onto a new sheet. From there I was able to outline the borders the way I wanted, using the generated map as a base. It was the most physically creative I’d been since high school, and to this day it is my most favorite map I have for one of my projects.
So, again, if you’re like me and really struggle to think about your fantasy setting visually, I definitely recommend checking out Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator. Even if it doesn’t make you the map you’ll use in your novel, it can almost certainly trigger ideas for new ones.
Today marks the beginning of a new month and with it renewed commitment to the goals I outlined at the start of the year. Three weeks to build a habit, three months to make it a lifestyle. Wish me luck!
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