Fantasy Maps – From Brain to Page

My next book, Rise of the Draman, is a fantasy dragon tale set in medieval times. After writing began, I sketched out a rough map (we’re talking grade school quality here) to use as a reference point. Eventually, I ended up with four, detailing the kingdoms and places where most of the action took place. They not only ensured consistency, but imbued the story with a sense of reality.

As things became more complicated, I toyed with the idea of including maps in the book. Why? While I did my best to describe the world in sufficient detail, words on the page will only take you so far. A good map will enhance the story, help the reader understand action and character motivations, and simplify complex scenes.

“Like a good novel itself, a map draws the reader into its created world, but still leaves room for imagination to fill in the rest.” Clay Andres

Now comes the tough part. I knew I couldn’t draw them, and the available do-it-yourself software was either too expensive or hard to use. What to do? I mentioned the desire for maps to one of my faithful beta readers, and she volunteered to create them for me! The before and after images below speak for themselves.


Dramanshire Map


Dramanshire - darkened

Created by Kari C.


The artist and I exchanged many emails and texts to fine tune what I wanted, clarifying various features and making changes which reflected the story as written. The process was exciting and not nearly as stressful as I imagined. In the space of one week, she churned out four completed hand drawn maps! In her spare time!

I’m even more excited about Rise of the Draman now and can’t wait to see what my readers think. While I would love to share all four, you’ll have to buy the book to see the others! They’re beautiful, super COOL, and take my story to another level.

“One of life’s greatest treats, for a lover of books (especially fantasy books), is to open a cover to find a map secreted inside and filled with the details of a land about to be discovered. A writer’s map hints at a fully imagined world, and at the beginning of a book, it’s a promise. In the middle of a book, it’s a touchstone and a guide. And at the end, it’s a reminder of all the places a story has taken you.” Sarah Laskow

Publication is tentatively set for early April.







9 responses to “Fantasy Maps – From Brain to Page”

  1. Kari C. Avatar
    Kari C.

    Happy to help! While beta reading the series, I found myself not being able to clearly visualize where everything was. Personally, I enjoy maps as part of a series. I feel it adds that extra bit of clarity for readers so we don’t have to work hard to get the general lay of the land. Working with this author was a breeze! He already had everything sketched out so I didn’t have to go through the painstaking process of taking notes from the books themselves and creating the maps that way. I wanted the maps as authentic-looking as possible so, while I toyed with the idea of using software to create them, I ultimately decided it would be easier and more realistic to hand draw them. I’m looking forward to rereading the series with the ability to refer frequently to maps!

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      Hello! So excited to share this with the world! I really think readers will love them, as I already do. Great to hear from you, and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Victoria Ray NB Avatar

    Well …exciting:)) I’m up to review it! I remember it was a fun read for a fantasy :))

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      Congrats on your latest book! I’ve been working on mine for the last YEAR. I love it but am sick of it too. Anyway, a review would be wonderful!! I will email you when it’s ready and we can work out the details. Should be soon, as I’m almost done with the final edits and then off to my beta readers.

      1. Victoria Ray NB Avatar

        I understand the “sick” part 😂😂 good luck! And my email 📧 on blog. Let me know ✌️ & good luck!

  3. H.R.R. Gorman Avatar

    Wow – that’s freaking amazing! I tend to believe I make good maps, but those mountains are fantastic!

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      Yes, they are! And I love the clean simple “olden days” look to the map. Fits the book perfectly!

  4. Theresa C. Avatar
    Theresa C.

    What a great job, Kari! The maps are beautiful & will be very helpful,too. You’ve really helped take the anticipation for this book to a higher level. Can’t wait to see the rest!

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      I agree!

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