View Poll Results: Map versus Story

Voters
25. You may not vote on this poll
  • Map comes first

    10 40.00%
  • Story comes first

    15 60.00%
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: Map versus Story

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Guild Artisan Gracious Donor LonewandererD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Australia, AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!
    Posts
    814

    Question Map versus Story

    Story vs Map. Okay, I'm sure this has come up before. I did a search on this and found some topics that were like this but didn't quite answer my question.

    I know I'm not alone when I say that "building the world" that a map is set in is just as fun as making the map itself; by building i mean creating things like cultures and history and stuff. The problem is that while my maps get put together at a reasonable pace I've not yet got my world down track just yet, and when I make a change to that story the map is normally rendered obsolete/inaccurate. I'm sure alot of people have been annoyed at some point at having created or knowing of a world being created and then having it scrapped because of conflict between the story and the map, I'm especially guilty of this

    So before I actually try and do a map that will actually get to the finished map section I wanted to know what the forum's opinion on the matter is. Should the story come first and then the map adapted to that, or should the map come first and the story adapted?

    -D-
    Last edited by LonewandererD; 01-17-2010 at 11:36 AM. Reason: spelling mistakes
    People come and people go. I walk amongst them, I see their faces; but none see mine. I pass them in the streets but nary a glance is spared my way, for what interest would they have in a Wanderer? Not of this world... Forever Alone... Forever Wandering... LoneWandererD...

    My DeviantART

    Finished Maps

    RIP Angel "Ingy" Yates - The first inspiration that guided me towards art. You will be missed...

  2. #2
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Surrey, Canada, EH!
    Posts
    5,025

    Default

    for me. Map First. as I draw the map, my imagination starts to flow, and I start thinking....'Hmmmm...what's in that wood? And those mountains, what secrets do they overlook, and just how many ships crashed on those jagged rocks...."
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

    Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!

    Any questions on CC3? Post them with CC3 in the Subject Line!
    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  3. #3
    Guild Artisan Facebook Connected Rythal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    551

    Default

    I'd say story. That is, if you want it to be more than a generic barbarian hero kills big green dragon with enchanted sword while saving elf princess. Not that those are bad, but its nice to have some originality. let your story create your world, not vice versa

    imo, at least.

  4. #4
    Community Leader Facebook Connected torstan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    4,162

    Post

    I'd say story first, but I definitely keep a map in mind as I'm working on the plots.
    Fantasy Map Blog | My food illustration
    Everything I post is free for use and redistribution under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence, except where noted otherwise in the thread.

  5. #5
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,972

    Default

    Yes.

    To me, the story helps drive the map, and the map helps drive the story.

    When i'm doing maps just because, i can't help but seeing stories evolve in them as I go. And when I'm making a map based on a story, the story is obviously a huge influence.

    So to me, the two processes are inseparable

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

  6. #6
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States
    Posts
    8,327

    Post

    I'd say make a rough map and do it fairly quick and easy. Then write your book. Then see how well the map fits the book and change accordingly. Sometimes the storyline requires more or less time to get from point A to point B and the map will change. Sometimes the story will require certain things to be in place that are not there currently so the map will change. It's a fact of life that any map that comes before the story will change. Being more of an artist and less of a writer the map comes first for me so every map I make I start stories in my head and that's where names and unique features come up and get put in.

    Also look at it this way, every time I do a commission I ask for a rough sketch. That means the writer has written his stuff and has a better idea of the layout of the world than I do and probably has that idea roughly in his head while writing and that image changes to fit his story as he writes. Since you're the writer and artist do a simple map sketch first and then write. Once you have a section nailed down or a chapter written then go back to the map and flesh it out some more in detail.

    In the end either way works just fine.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  7. #7
    Guild Adept loogie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Strathroy, ON
    Posts
    364

    Post

    Well, for me its generally story, but that doesn't mean a map doesn't come first... For the most part a map is really required, at least a quick rough sketch...

    We need to remember thats maps become out of date as soon as their made, so for every story a map will only be accurate for a tiny portion of it... So, if the map is rendered obselete because of story evolution (a city is taken over, a drought dries up a lake)... then that is to be expected... but if you change a place name, or the locations, or cultures, thats where you run into a problem... and thats where a rough sketch map comes in handy, since its lays out the basics before you start anything, it will highlight the guidelines to what your doing, and you know (if you decide to keep the rough sketch as law) that whats on the rough map won't change...
    Photoshop, CC3, ArcGIS, Bryce, Illustrator, Maptool

  8. #8
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,217

    Post

    I've answered "map first", but that's only partly my way. I prefer physical geography first - landforms, climate, land cover, drainage. With that mapped, maybe even not in exquisite detail, I can come up with some story. not "John left the castle, setting off on the King's Road into the sunset...", but the big sweep of history, society, culture. Then I'll go back to mapping and devise some politics - borders, habitation, transport, land use. Then that level of geography suggests story opportunities.

    While it's iterative, I usually don't backtrack on the maps. Maybe that's a measure of the strength (or NOT) of my plots - the world having attained more solidity in my mind than what I have to say in a story.

    Of course I do have a backlog of story and plot fragments, characters and situations. As I wander around a new setting, one or more of them will crawl out of my memory and slap me upside the head. So would that be "story first"?

  9. #9

    Post Inseparable, agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coyotemax View Post
    Yes.

    To me, the story helps drive the map, and the map helps drive the story.

    When i'm doing maps just because, i can't help but seeing stories evolve in them as I go. And when I'm making a map based on a story, the story is obviously a huge influence.

    So to me, the two processes are inseparable
    This - I'm in complete agreement. I'll have to admit that I am a mapper first, but as many of us also part author, game master, illustrator. For me its a collaborative process with all levels of creative arts - that's what makes fantasy maps such an exciting task in practice. I'm kind of a visual guy, so when I know the story, I see it in my head like a movie. Where one's place is located at any given time within the story is intrinsic to some location on a map, or an encounter scale map. The story and the map are one in the same. The creative processes embarked on one aspect integrates the other simultaneously. Eventually the written dominates the time element of course, but I see the map in my mind, while I write the story.

    It's difficult for me to separate the two, even ideologically.

    Still, I voted "story" first, as the seed of an idea is needed, even for a map - that seed is story.

    GP
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!
    http://www.gamer-printshop.com

    Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) Google+ community

  10. #10
    Software Dev/Rep Redrobes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    England
    Posts
    4,807
    Blog Entries
    4

    Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Coyotemax View Post
    To me, the story helps drive the map, and the map helps drive the story.
    ditto.

    I think the more ways you look at the same thing the more facets you can bring to bear on it. I dont write books but I do write software which is kinda wordy but we all make diagrams to sort out in our head how to make it in a succinct and clean way. Some people are more visual than literary and vice versa but few people are all of one and none the other.

    It bugs me in books when there is a logical inconsistency and it also bugs me when the visual aspects don't seem to line up. It also awes me in books when they are strong in both too. You can usually tell which writers like their maps and which don't cos some of the characters wander aimlessly with almost no references to anything that pins them to a location and for others it makes a big deal.

    I'm reading Tolkien at mo with the Hobbit and he is always referencing whether the sun is setting behind the Mistys or rising in the morning from them or that Gandalf had to travel X number of hours to get to a point where he could cross a river, he knows how much rations they need and when they will run out and so on. He clearly had the map done when he wrote it and knew where they were on it at all times and used it to add to the text. I also think that the Mistys running all the way up the middle (an improbable geological effect) shows that he needed that barrier so must have had an idea about the story requiring them going underground to find Gollum and the ring before the map was drawn up too.

    To and fro between them developing them in turn or together. Therefore I abstain !

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •