Author Essentials: Go there…

Making it real, no matter what genre you write in…¬† ūüėÄ

Hard Ink Café

Sophie E Tallis in New Zealand

If your imaginary world is rich in geographical detail, at least in your mind’s eye, you need to get out there and soak it up in order to transfer the experience to the reader. Sophie E Tallis was already travelling when she started to think about writing her epic fantasy adventures.

You may be the writer, stuck at your desk ‚Äď but the reader can be anyone, anywhere in the world. And if you‚Äôre imagining any part of the world that your reader knows, you need to impart knowledge and inspire empathy. If the reader doesn‚Äôt recognise the Oxford Street that they pass through on the way to work every day, because you‚Äôre writing about it from your cul-de-sac in Bexhill-on-Sea and the closest you ever got to Central London was Tunbridge Wells, then perhaps a one-day travelcard wouldn‚Äôt go amiss in your research.

Even if your world is invented…

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For the love of maps!

mapsoftheimagination

Ever since I was a young child, I’ve had an absolute fascination for maps.

The ‘tone and timbre’ as I call it, of an old map, holds within it such beauty and mystery. The texture of the parchment, the ink used and how it has aged over time like the best of wines. To follow the winding paths and coastlines, the mountain ranges and sprawling settlements. Every mark, every crease, every nuance holds a story. As objects, they are works of art and are simply gorgeous to look at.

file000816536459[1]But of course, maps can and have been highly divisive. History shows us that in the wrong hands they were the latest and most effective tools of warfare, propaganda, divisions of state, ideology, ethnicity. They were the bringers of colonialism and with it, the most terrible atrocities and suffering through the destruction of indigenous tribes, the conquering of nations and the carriers of disease. In a world without the internet, without weapons of mass destruction, the nation with the most skilled mapmakers found themselves at the top of the ruling tree. Empires were made or broken by those who could claim the seas and conquer the new chartered lands. Maps were the driving force of every expansionists dream.

But, in literary terms, maps can be the most wondrous of additions to any story!

Cartography, and particularly fantasy cartography is the stuff of dreams. map-of-middle-earth-lord-of-the-rings-2329809-1600-1200

As a child I would get utterly lost in the detailed maps of¬†Milne’s¬†100 acre wood from ‘Winnie the Pooh’,¬†Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’,¬†C.S. Lewis’s ‘Narnia’, and of course Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord Of The Rings’. Now, maps are just as prevalent and cherished as they ever were, from Warhammer¬†to Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’, Paolini’s¬†‘Eragon’ and George Martin’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’.

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Maps serve as keys to the imagination, holders of knowledge, portals to lose yourself and unlock the greatest flights of fantasy…

Below, my¬†own flight of fantasy, ‘The Lay of Fendellin’ taken from my debut novel, ‘White Mountain’ – Book 1 of ‘The Darkling Chronicles’.

The only limits, are our own imaginations!