Monday, May 23, 2016

Five Reasons to Write with Maps from Lori MacLaughlin

Please welcome Lori today!!!




5 Reasons to Create Maps for Your Stories
By Guest Lori MacLaughlin


Let me just say right up front that I love maps! It's the first thing I look for when I open a fantasy novel. Here are 5 reasons why I create maps for my books:


  1. As a writer, maps help me plot my characters' paths as they progress through the story. I'm a visual person, so having a map helps me visualize the scenes. It solidifies my story and makes it more real to me.
  2. With maps, I can measure distances between places, so I know how long it should take my characters to get from one place to another. This is particularly important when my POV characters aren't together, which happens a lot.
  3. As a reader, I want to immerse myself in the characters' world, and maps allow me to get a feel for what that world is like before I jump into the story.
  4. When you include maps, readers can see and be impressed by the tremendous amount of thought you've put into developing your fictional world.
  5. Maps are so much fun to draw! They don't have to be incredibly detailed. Simple line maps work just as well.

A map by Lori for Trouble By Any Other Name



Do you create maps for your stories?


Here are a couple of map-related sites that I find interesting: https://petrosjordan.wordpress.com/

Thanks so much for having me over, Tyrean!!

And, thank you for stopping by, Lori!!!

Lori L. MacLaughlin is a fantasy author who just published her second book, Trouble By Any Other Name, the sequel to her first book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble.


You can find her here:





Tara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She's yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn't dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?


With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara's sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she'd killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.


Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.

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Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.


She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.


When she's not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

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37 comments:

Misha Gericke said...

I do have a map for The War of Six Crowns, but due to the nature of the world, I hardly ever use it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations, Lori!
If I ever write fantasy, I'll probably make a map.

M.J. Fifield said...

I love it when novels include a map. I constantly refer to them while reading. I did create a map for my fantasy series, and it hangs over my desk for easy reference. It's only for my use right now, but some day I'd like to make it pretty and professional and include it with the novels themselves.

Congrats on the new book, Lori!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

That would be interesting to see!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thank you, Alex! They're definitely worth the effort.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thank you, M.J.! I do the same thing when reading. I hope you get your map out there some day.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thanks so much, Tyrean, for having me over today!!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I love maps. My series was set in the here and now, so I didn't really need one. (Although I did checkout Google Earth often.)

Congrats on the release, Lori.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have never used one of my maps in the finished book, but I do draw myself a map of the street/area...and even the floor plans of character's houses, so I can keep everything organized in my brain as I write.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I draw maps for my fantasy books but not for my space opera novels. LOL. They're not near as nice looking as yours.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, Lori! I finally updated your post to include your map . . . a little late, but it is there.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I actually check Google Earth to create fantasy maps - it helps me think about how topography comes together.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Floor plans . . . I think I should do that, considering that my characters seem to run around more inside than I intend them too, and caverns, tunnels, and caves seem to keep cropping up in my fantasy fiction.

Tyrean Martinson said...

My maps are not near as nice looking as Lori's either . . . which is why they've never been including inside my books.
And, you know, I had a kid in one of my creative writing classes who did create a map for a space opera novel - the map took up a four foot squared area, and had to be held up by two people when he talked about it. (And he was 9!) So . . . if you ever want to create a space opera map . . . I know a guy. :)

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Ha, ha, yes, sorry to get it to you so late. Thanks for adding it in!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thank you! Using Google Earth is a great idea!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Yes, I do that, too. I'm a visual person and it really helps me to be able to see where everything is.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thank you, Susan. I think drawing maps for a space opera would be more of a challenge. You'd need the planetary systems as well as the topography of each of the planets. That could get really involved.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thanks, Tyrean. Wow, that kid's map sounds impressive. I'd love to see it.

cleemckenzie said...

I don't draw maps, but I sometimes draw rooms or settings, so I can keep my characters in the right place during the story.

Congrats to Lori! I hope to see her on my blog soon.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

I'll sometimes sketch settings and buildings to help me imagine what they should look like.
Thanks, C. Lee! I'm looking forward to it.

Yolanda Renee said...

I love maps too, and even added one for my last novel, set in Alaska. A real place with real locations and one not so real location. :) But I thought it was important to show the many places traveled to during the story, but I've always love the maps in The Ring trilogy. Great job, Lori!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great idea, C. Lee! Now, to put it to use. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Yolanda!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thank you! I think it's great to have maps for those real locations, too.
The Ring maps are wonderful. So much fun to pore over. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I haven't drawn a map, but I like books--especially fantasies--that include them. Good luck with your book, Lori!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thanks so much, Natalie!

Nicola said...

I do love the concept of maps - even though I am terrible at reading them (drawing them is even worse!). However, for my novel I did visit London, grabbed a tube map and visited all the places to make sure my timings were right. Luckily there was no tube strike on that day!Congratulations, Lori!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thank you! I used a tube map the one time I was in London. It was fun figuring out where all the places were.

Heather R. Holden said...

I was commissioned to draw a map once, which terrified me, since I'm hopelessly confused by maps of all kinds. (I'm pretty much the worst person to travel with, LOL.) It's fun to see 'em included in books, though. Helps make the world an author created feel more real!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Ha, ha, I bet it turned out just fine. And I agree — it definitely makes the fictional world seem more real.

Crystal Collier said...

I think maps are yet another way of brainstorming and world building. I haven't used one in a long time, but when I was writing epic fantasy, I definitely had my various drafts.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Absolutely! I find them invaluable.

Juneta Key said...

Congrats Lori, I don't have a map, but I try to keep a series bible to keep up with stuff I will need to remember as I write more books and character particulars.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Laurel Garver said...

Maybe it was all the years I did theatre, but I find I MUST map my locations, and I write contemporary stories! It helps so much knowing how locations relate to one another, and knowing how long it would take to get from here to there and what a character would pass along the way makes writing scenes so much more fun. Mapping is a wonderful brainstorming tool!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Thanks, Juneta! Yes, it's definitely good to have one of those. Otherwise, I'd never remember everything.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Yes, exactly. That's so true.