World Building Wednesday: MAPS


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Hello Space Cadet, how’s it hanging?  Mine’s alright, but hey… don’t judge, it’s cold in here!  LOL!!  If this survives my mom’s brutal editing process you know she was a sailor’s wife for too long!  So a quick update on life in the trenches.  My first two books and the prequel novella are almost done in the final stages of pre-publication prep.  Formatting, last minute copy editing and all the other stuff I’d rather skip so I can just write more.  I will have an official publication schedule for you very soon, but until then… let the shenanigans continue!


Welcome to my World Building Wednesday Series!  Today I wanted to talk to you about one of my favorite visual aids, maps!  I was an Army infantryman, we prefer to keep it simple, so we used pictures whenever we could.  Why use words, when pictures are available?  Not quite Marine territory, we didn’t eat the crayons we colored with, but close.  The best kind of picture for the grunt about to go on patrol, maps!!  The scope of these maps can be as large or tight in scope as you and your story require.


There are several ways you can make your maps; hand drawn, built like a high school craft project, contracted from a cartographer or made with some sort of map building software.  I use Fractal Mapper v8 made by NBOS Software because it was what I could afford.  I like the end results, though the feel of it is limited.  Check out these pictures of maps we made with this program.


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Now, this program has a bit of a learning curve.  I actually couldn’t get it right, but my back end staff (aka MOM) managed to find some YouTube videos to help out.  It IS a good point of entry program because it’s affordable and it’s definitely a great starter program.  It has a companion program AstroSynthesis v3, but we’ve owned it for about two years and can’t get it to work for us. 




These programs aren’t the only ones out there, the industry standard seems to be Campaign Cartographer 3, often simply referred to as CC3.  It’s a whole suite of companion programs made by ProFantasy which I’d love to have, but can’t afford.  It’s definitely something I’m eyeing.  I’ve done a search of their samples, and was impressed.  Check out the examples below!


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Finally, I’d like to share one of the maps made by a friend and fellow author; Cait Ashwood.  We met at our local NaNoWriMo group and hit it off.  We write in similar genres, since her fantasy novels are also enjoyed by the audience of science fiction junkies I covet.  This map is trademarked and owned by her, and used with her permission.  Hope you realize how good it could be, with only fifteen minutes of practice.  Definitely an easier learning curve than we had with the Fractal Mapper.  And hey, if you’re jonesing for some good fantasy stories meander over to her page and take a peek!


Cait Ashwood CC3 Map.jpg

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!




–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section, were created by Team Handley or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine. 

12 thoughts on “World Building Wednesday: MAPS

    • She IS pretty awesome!! Without her this dream dies on the vine. It’s because of her I can find ways around my TBI (traumatic brain injury). She edits my blogs before I post and helps me stay organized. The stories are mine, but they’d be stuck in my head without her! ❤

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  1. Wow! Thank you so much for these examples. I’ve been thinking more and more about maps lately. CC3 attracts me too–but the price is also a consideration. Meanwhile, do you have a favorite for small-scale, town & city maps?

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