• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:


    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!

     

     

  • Advertisements

AWESOME Fan-made interactive Song of Ice and Fire map

A Song of Ice and Fire & Game of Thrones fan ‘Ser Mountain Goat’ has created an amazing interactive map of the world of George RR Martin’s epic series, from the continent of Westeros to the Dothraki Sea and beyond! They’ve even made a Google-Earth style planet view (Though its a bit big for slow internet connections.)

Advertisements

Fallon Friday – Maps: an undiscovered dome of pleasure (Part 2)

We were talking last week about maps and the geography of worldbuilding. Here are a few more questions to consider:

  • How do people communicate over long distances? (A note here about pigeons. Pigeons are called homing pigeons, because that’s what they do. They fly home. You do not take a bird, strap a vital message to its leg, and whisper “take this note to Prince Shagalot who’s somewhere on the road between here and Mount Gullible” in its ear, and expect it to do anything other than look at you blankly. Pigeons, after about six weeks, think wherever they are is home. So, if you want homing pigeons to send regular reports back to your king about how your noble quest is progressing, you’ve got about six weeks to get it done, buster, or you’re screwed.)
  • If you have non-human races, what territory do they consider theirs?
  • What are the penalties for breaching their borders uninvited?
  • How have human activities affected the landscape? (A large city where everyone is cooking over open flames demands a huge amount of firewood or coal. More than likely the land around any city has long been stripped bare of trees.)
  • If you’re not on Earth, how do the differences (more than one moon, brighter sunlight, less sunlight.) affect your world?
  • Does your world have equatorial, temperate, and polar regions?
  • Where is your farmland?
  • What do they grow?
  • What animals do they farm? (If you’re dispatching messages on parchment, you’d better have sheep, because parchment is made from sheepskin. Cotton requires a lot of water. Silk comes from silkworms, which means somewhere, someone is farming them, and purple dye is very hard to make naturally and is therefore very expensive, which is why it tends to be the colour associated with royalty. Purple robed beggars, however colourful you think they might look, are unlikely.)
  • What natural resources do your countries have (e.g. gold, iron ore, gemstones, etc)?
  • Is your terrain consistent with your natural resources (So let’s not be mining the limestone White Cliffs of Grover for gold, hmm…)?
  • What resources are in short supply?
  • What is the consequence of the imbalance of these natural resources between neighbouring countries?

I could go on, and on, and on…I won’t, but I’m sure you get the idea.

So toss your rectangular world map away and think beyond the borders of the three countries you’ve thought up names for. Give your world a convincing look and feel, rather than making it up as you go along to fit the story.

Jennifer Fallon’s worldbuilding does the talking – she’s the author of thirteen fantasy novels including the recent  Tide Lords quartet. The final book in the quartet, The Chaos Crystal, came out last month. You can read more from her at her website and blog.

Fallon Friday – Maps: an undiscovered dome of pleasure (Part 1)

There’s a standing joke among the denigrators of fantasy that says the first rule of world building is that your world must be rectangular, because this fits nicely on a page.

I beg to differ. These days it’s more likely to be the unpublished fantasy that remains caught in the rectangular zone. This isn’t to say there haven’t been some very successful “rectangular world” stories published, but if you’re hoping your publicist (better yet, the critics) will ever use the word “epic” when they describe your world, start by thinking outside the box. Literally.

In my opinion, it should be compulsory for anybody wanting to write fantasy to take a class with NZ author and map-freak, Russell Kirkpatrick. This is a man who describes mapmaking as an “undiscovered dome of pleasure” (which might give you an idea of his passion for the subject, plus a few other insights into his psyche that might not be safe to inquire too closely into … hehe). If you’re planning to create a believable world, you’d better make sure you, geography and meteorology have more than a passing acquaintanceship.

So… here’s another list of questions you should be able to answer off the top of your head:

  • What is the geography of the area where your story is set?
  • How much of your world will the story cover?
  • Are there other countries?
  • Can you name at least four of them off the top of your head? (If you think this is unnecessary, take a look at an old map of Europe and check out how many countries you can cram into a relatively compact – and dare I say almost rectangular – space).
  • What are the most outstanding geographical features of your landscape (tall mountains, large deserts, grassland, etc)?
  • How does this affect the climate?
  • How does the climate affect the landscape?
  • What flora and fauna are indigenous to the area? (There’s no need to go overboard here, but unless you’re writing about Hannibal, you’re not likely to find elephants in high, snowy mountain passes)
  • How does your geography affect travel? (Horses won’t survive in the desert for long; Camels aren’t terribly useful in the snow. Remember, the climate will impact on travel considerably. Winter snows and spring thaws will change the way people move and when they move as rivers freeze or annually flood (think the River Nile).
  • Is your society compatible with your weather patterns? (i.e. does your hero ache to be a member of the Saharan Ice Hockey team? I hope not.)
  • Cities cannot survive without a reliable water supply. Where does your city’s water come from?

More of these riveting questions next week….

Jennifer Fallon’s worldbuilding does the talking – she’s the author of thirteen fantasy novels including the recent  Tide Lords quartet. The final book in the quartet, The Chaos Crystal, came out last month. You can read more from her at her website and blog.

Voyager author Russell Kirkpatrick, mentioned above, did the maps featured in the Tide Lords books. Click here to visit his website.