Godon, people might respond better to those sketches if you'd put them in your last post instead of editing them into the first post so they can see them easier.
I can't really comment on them btw, because they are just to rough for me to get a feel for what it is you are trying to do. I remember your other sketches being on a globe I think, and I wouldn't have commented on those because I have zero idea when it come to mapping that way.
Btw, Liquid Story Binder's trial ends after thirty non-consecutive days of use, not thirty consecutive days of non-use. Word matters order :-). It does look cool though - helping to keep reference images tied to related content one is writing, for instance.
World-building thoughts - indeed, consider inviting others to your creative sandbox. Infusions of other peoples' imagination could keep the wild variety you're looking for fresh. Tidbits and starters might be enough - instigators instead of collaborators.
Connecting with conlang folks could net you some families of tongues that hang together.
I agree about maps generating all manner of story lines and detail possibilities. The bit of geofiction writing I do springs oftenest from something on a map.
To get plausible climate zones out of Fractal Terrains, you'll want to do some educated guessing and tweaking. See things like http://www.fas.org/irp/imint/docs/rs...Sect14_1c.html -- on the fifth graphic up from the bottom, see how (very!) generalized seasonal pressure patterns place highs over big continental masses during a hemisphere's winter, and over oceans during a hemisphere's summer? The pic above that pair shows how some generalized winds spiral into and out of these lows and highs, differing by whether in northern or southern hemisphere.
At this point if your eyes are glazing it's ok to just say "uhhh, the prevailing winds across continent X are about like SO" and be done with it :-).
But if you're compulsive enough to want plausibility, there's a good general presentation at http://geog-www.sbs.ohio-state.edu/c...0Lecture24.ppt . From slide 33 on, it shows how those summer/winter patterns drive wet seasons vs. dry ones. Once you get an idea of where the overall wind patterns might be, you can then guess how that would drive surface ocean currents (did I mention I tend to obsess over this kind of stuff? :-) ). The 'slant' of coasts will matter a lot, as will whether straits are big enough to pass large amounts of water, vs. small enough to choke off flow. Here's how I did that on a Fractal Terrains world. Busy, busy, map - sorry.
Reason I put both summer and winter winds on there at once is to help figure currents - if the winds in one area are diametrically opposed at different parts of the year, the current won't be as strong, being driven maybe more by how the water's sloshing in response to winds elsewhere. Yadda yadda - pick up a used climate & weather textbook to read - there'll be enough maps to grab your graphical interest that you'll soak up a lot of the air & sea movements painlessly. As a side note, I didn't study stuff like this NEARLY as hard in college, as now when I want to know about it :-).
The Fractal Terrains program sets up rather bland climate. First off, it makes terrain of fairly uniform roughness - I had to tweak it to get plains and plateaus. Since it doesn't have even a basic simulation of currents and winds, nor of seasonal climate variation, when I was working with the original maps of the world above, I had time only to do a little basic guessing. The detailed wind stuff came later.
Mods to the 'ideal' situations of the summer winter textbook variation involve plausible 'rain shadows' where land is most of the year downwind of mountain ranges. That got me some deserts and savanna and chaparral. A realistic assessment of weather patterns could maybe show more dry territory now than when I started... but my summer/winter wind patterns are just plausible guesses anyway. I'm content to go light on the S and heavy on the WA of a SWAG. If you do the windfiguring before you settle on an FT climate map, you can manually push and prod temps and rainfall to make it come out better.
One thing I always note is that the climate zones shown by FT are "before human effects". If your people have been cutting down trees for hundreds of years to make farmland, there'll be more grasslands and croplands. It's been said before Europeans showed up in North America a squirrel could probably have run from tree to tree from the Atlantic coast all the way to the Mississippi river. If a grassland or savanna or chaparral or tropical shrubland has been overgrazed for generations it might be desert now. That's what has happened to much of North Africa within historic times. On the flip side, a bit of irrigation could transform what was formerly desert into productive ranch and farm land. Much of the American West was once termed The Great American Desert - don't think bare sand and rock, just inhospitable to human use.
Our above map doesn't have the huge bulk of the Eurasian landmass to mix things up. Even Danetia (the largest continent, top right) is a lot smaller than Eurasia, so it has more sea-influenced weather/climate. Your FT world has even smaller, stringier landmasses. At a guess, that would prejudice your climate toward maritime, wetter, less seasonably variable. On the other hand, there's always *weather* to add interest. Climate averages? Pish. All those land-hemmed oceans of yours are going to let equatorial water get hotter than Earth's oceans... a terrific driver for tropical cyclones. So of course on mine I had to figure where those would most likely form and track for my world. Like so:
See the ocean without any cyclone tracks? That's analogous to the South Atlantic, which almost never gets tropical cyclone activity. Plenty of mid-and upper-lattitude storms, it just doesn't have the hurricane thing going. Those zones aren't all active at once - see the wiki page those live on for a look at scheduling. In passing - Earth's strongest tornado areas are in the middle of big continents - maybe your planet just doesn't get a lot of them. Or maybe cyclones routinely spawn hordes of the beasts - your call. But now you have a shred of a reason to go one way or the other :-).
Back to the general culture / history ideas spawned by your map - looks to me like all those smallish straits would make for easier continent-to-continent migration. And earlier than earth - if all you need is little coastal cogs and longboats and such, looks like your whole world would've had commerce a long time.
You mention magic more some places than others - do you have a system or set of rules yet? The maps might suggest some "whys". Tied to volcanism? Figure yourself some plausible plate tectonics. Sensitive to oceans? More mana when surrounded by salt water? Maybe islands this, that & the other are strongest with the mages. Came to earth from above meteorically? - see any plausible ancient impact craters? Comes from the beans dropped from the pocket of the last age's Wandering Giant Glymishkya? Maybe the skinniest straits suggest a path for him from landmass to landmass.
As for a scope of thirty books' breadth -- please, please leave your heirs good notes so they can finish out whatever you leave incomplete!
Is there a way to stick uploaded files inline rather than at the end of a post? That's why I broke this up, to get the pix at the right spots. Nooo, Jake's not the least bit format-compulsive either.... :-).
I'll put them into the last post, it just seemed better form to update the first post, rather than post at each update, as it would be more difficult to find the updated posts and it would use more bandwidth for the site unless I go back and edit the posts to delete them. As for the sketchiness, it's mainly because I don't want to commit to something before I get a good feel for the land-masses and the mountain structures.
And, jbgibson, thank-you for the post. I'll have to review it more closely when I am at my computer rather than huddling in a room shielding myself from the sudden snow and typing on my iPhone. From what I have read it sounds quite helpful. My current idea for the land-masses was to sketch out a general globe that I liked and then play with FT until I found something that looked similar. I will try what you've suggested as soon as I am home (Monday or Tuesday).
I will likely be taking thorough notes for a few more years, maybe five-ten. Once I have a detailed outline of all thirty books in a chapter-by-chapter lineup I will begin writing. If I die, there should be more than enough for anyone to take over, but I admittedly hope not to. If I manage to get published and make it my living I am fairly confident that I can pump them out fairly quickly, as I have filled out detailed outlines as far as fifteen-to-twenty thousand words in a day. Albeit a long day. The part I -must- focus on now, though, is the notes themselves. I am really just toying with different worlds for a long time because I want to be absolutely certain I like it before I make it my world.
So it's been a while. I started grad school and have been busier than I anticipated. Anyway, I've had some computer trouble, which resulted in losing all of my notes for the series. I am back to square one, in a way, but I think it will give me a chance to take a new approach to it. I have some ideas, but nothing solid yet. I've taken a bit of time to sketch out patterns for some of the worlds I have been considering, but haven't got anything definite yet. I will have to read more over the material you provided for me before I have confidence in it.
Anyway, I'm caught up on my homework for once, though I have a test on Monday to study for. I am going to start outlining my books again and I think I am going to trash Fractal Terrains and just scribble in Photoshop and say to hell with the prettyness.
Expressionism is a good thing...look at Jackson Pollock. :) Just let 'er rip and see what happens.