The more time I spend writing Ontyre stories the less I seem to know about our world. I suppose that makes sense. I am the leading expert on the World of Ontyre, after all. I really can’t say that about anything else.
Literally, I could fill a book on geography alone, and like all the aspects of Ontyre geography it’s always evolving as the need arises.
How many continents? One right now: Tremjara. There are rumors of a second, Arkrish. For the moment, though, I have my hands full with Tremjara. My characters haven’t explored a fraction of it.
My latest project, begun early this year, aims to finally create the definitive Tremjara map, which has gone through numerous revisions over the years, the latest in 2015 when its basic features were rebuilt from scratch.
What am I doing now? Too start, I made alterations to the northern coastline (more will follow in select locations) and to some of the surrounding islands. The other major change was to Lake Radiance near the center of the continent, which is now about 50% larger. Beyond that, I finally formalized the continent’s name and added a distance scale (leagues, which are similar to miles because I say they are … lol).
And then the BIG challenge, although I didn’t realize just how big at the time.
I decided to add color.
It was shortly after that decision that madness began to set in, or so it seems.
I started colorizing Carrdia at the continent’s center, which is central to the series. Shoot me. It should have been easy because I know it so well, but I kept enhancing and enhancing (and still return to it on occasion), not just color, but details. I added a more accurate depiction of Royalty Island, the long-ignored marshes south of the Sentinel River Valley, and made adjustments to the hills around the Queen’s River. More remains. I’m not at all happy with the Granite Highlands…
After Carrdia I went west to the seven massive woods of Forstava and Mythwyll (Shadow, Stone, Ash, Mist, Logouve, Glitter, and Wind). Easy, right? Nah. I wanted each wood to be distinctive to reflect each wood’s particular magic.
And still I’ve never finalized the Forstava coastline.
On to the (largely) uninhabited Colossus Range. No problem. Yeah, sure. The Colossus Range is aptly named, but also deceptive because it actually constitutes about a zillion smaller ranges. Well, maybe not a zillion—but it sure seemed like it!
It had to get easier. Right? Right?
On I moved to the (mostly) Frozen Lands which consists of barren, wind-swept plains; an enormous ice wall with glaciers beyond (that didn’t exist in the old versions); and ice encrusted peaks. I assure you, it sounds easier than it was and I’m still not one hundred percent satisfied with the glacier.
All that has taken since the beginning of the year! How much is completed? About 33% of the continent. I’m serious. That’s all. The .psd version of the map is enormous, there’s a lot of experimentation with the colorizing, and I keep adding small details as I go.
Another problem was that I kept placing the map on the back burner. To combat that, I’ve started, as a part of my monthly goals, to update a new portion of the map. For December that means the south-central portion of the continent that borders the Key River on the west. I chose it because I thought it’d be an easy region to tackle for the first month of my revision goals.
Yeah, you can laugh.
As I said, I keep enhancing. I made changes to the lands around the ancient city of Meldenphire to reflect what I learned about it in Bk2. The plains of Aramon went fairly quick. Then, oh then, I reached the Rocklands.
Shoot me again.
Sharp, jagged peaks. Deep, equally jagged, chasms. Rock formations. I know mostly what I’m doing now, but I’m struggling to get the chasms how I want them. Once I master those I can complete the rest of the Rocklands, but then there are the barrens followed by the jungles of the deep south. Beyond are islands…
Revive me and shoot me again for good measure.
It’s the middle of the month and I’m only about a quarter of the way to my December goal. Thus, the last few days I’ve devoted a minimum of one hour per day to the project, which is what I’ve needed to do all along.
Part of what’s pushing me is seeing the benefits of a monthly goal pay off. Instead of setting the map aside because I’m lazy, I’m buckling down and getting it done. It’s moving ahead at a steady rate now and I have to admit that it’s satisfying to look at the whole of it. One day it’s my hope that it’ll be a centerpiece of the World of Ontyre, a star visual attraction.
Steady work on the map is also feeding my imagination and so I’ve begun a list of new enhancements (short stories written for the Old Empire are also helping) for the upcoming regions. Changes are coming for the gigantic Juka Desert, eastern Emprensa, and the Isle of Kron.
Just don’t bring up Arkrish or I’ll have a nervous breakdown.