I had set a deadline of Sept. 30th for finishing the map for the Egan & Stiles stories. As of last night, it’s done.

You can see a small version of my efforts below. Click the image to enlarge.

Map of Mesnick

Map of the City of Mesnick

You’ll probably notice that there aren’t many labels, street names, etc.. I’m leaving most of that open for my imagination to run wild with as I develop the stories. As I nail down locations, I’ll mark them on the map and move on.

I expect this to be a living document that evolves as the stories evolve.

… Now to start the process of outlining the story. I think I have enough ideas to chain together and make an 85,000 to 95,000 word novel out of things. Though, if it comes in shorter, I’m cool with that. Just so long as it’s north of the 75k mark.

I’m sure some folks will ask me how I made the map. I’ll go ahead and divulge that now.

I started with an art pad measuring 18″ x 12″. I used a regular old mechanical pencil to create the river, cliff, and buildings. Yeah. I had to use the eraser quite a bit as well. I didn’t explicitly draw roads. I just gapped out the buildings so there would be a place to flood fill the road patterns in later.

Then I took some photos (my scanner is smaller than the paper size) of the photo. I tried and tried and tried to convert the pencil drawing to black and white, but it failed miserably because the pencil lines just didn’t show up well enough to GIMP to be converted to black lines. Even with the help of my wonderful wife (who is a photographer and knows how to manipulate images), I couldn’t get a B&W image.

Instead of throwing the map out and starting over on a smaller, scannable sheet of paper, I spent the time with an ultra-fine-point Sharpie to ink the entire map. That was almost as hard as drawing it in the first place, but I got it done.

More photos and image editing based on the training my wife had given me, and I had a B&W image of the map I’d drawn. With a little clean-up around the edges, I was in business.

Then I added tons of layers to the map. Some for the red points (they’re shrines), some for the walls, some for the paved roads, and some for the dirt roads. Oh. There are some for the swamps, farms, warrens, and graveyard as well.

Then I started with a stencil tool to add the swamp, farmland, warrens, and graveyard symbols. Then I used the lasso select tool to select by hand the various areas for paved roads and dirt roads. Then I did a flood fill with a pattern to fill in the areas.

Then came the walls and cliff face. Those were easier to select with the magic wand and fill in. Then I had to select each shrine (they were originally black dots) with the magic wand and flood fill them with the red dots you see on the map.

Then I labeled a few areas/locations with some text, and called it good.

The whole process was probably 50 hours of work spread out over a few months.

Now I’m really glad I set a deadline. I should have had this done in a few weeks instead of a few months. Ah well. Such is life.

Now to get to some serious outlining!