Divas Recommend:

Do What Tolkien Did

(But Not What You Think He Did)

by Tineke Bryson

Have you ever wanted to create maps for your setting, whether it be the layout of a cabin, remote island, or something off-world? If you’re a fantasy author, you probably already worship Tolkien and his map making genius. But what can we learn from Tolkien, and how can we hope to apply his lessons to our own story creation? Tineke Bryson wrote a wonderful article, “Do What Tolkien Did (But Not What You Think He Did),” on Daniel Schwabauer’s blog about making maps by looking at J. R. R. Tolkien and the surprisingly simple way he went about it .


By Lordoftheloch (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

What I loved about this article was how we can apply the lessons we’ve learned from Tolkien’s maps and world creation to almost any genre and book. Do maps have to be complicated? No. Do they even need to be published with the book? No, unless the setting is one that requires it. Having a map may simply be a tool you use to keep the setting straight and visual as you write your novel.

So if you’re writing an epic fantasy or a contemporary romance, check out Bryson’s article. A little map making just might be the thing that helps you stay on track and keep the details of your setting consistent.

Now… go write something!

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