Land formation and drawing maps.
As I start another fun summer of roleplaying (figured out that I’m excited about that yet), I find myself drawing a map. For the longest time, Alyssa and I have used the same world, Isrlan, but now we are moving on and creating another.
Since she is much more busy than I am, I drew the map. But instead of drawing random things, I did a few specific details. In order to explain why this matters to you, I need to explain South Dakota to you first.
South Dakota is literally divided by the river, namely, the Missouri River, but since we abbreviate everything, we just call it the River. That makes East River and West River. For a traveler, that means mainly that when you cross the river you change time zones. For us in South Dakota, East River is mainly farming and baseball caps and West River is mainly cattle and cowboy hats.
In general, our weather moves from west to east. All our storms come from the west. To the farthest west point is the Black Hills (were Mtn Rushmore is). Mountains cause the clouds to rise, rain on the mountains, and give all the prettiness found there.
However, the clouds run out of water as soon as they over the mountains, so then they hit the Badlands. Personally, I find the Badlands incredible, because the dirt there is basically clay and there are many, many ridges, valleys and storm formations. I could spend a whole day there. (Or hide there with my secret organization that is taking down the government.)
Before too long, however, the clouds hit the River. This is where it is important, because the river fuels the clouds. The clouds suck up all the water, then move along across South Dakota, raining from the river onward and giving us our lush farmland. However, since we don’t get that much rain, we typically have hot, dry summers. (Expect for last year, but last year we broke record rainfalls.)
With that in mind, I made my map, keeping a river near the mountains to fuel the clouds, so my country doesn’t become a desert. See?
On another note, and I don’t know how this really plays into things, but if you look at my map, you can see a little river about half way between the border and the Missouri River. Besides the fact that “river” floods every year, a lot of weather alerts are determined merely by whether it’ll happen west or east of the James River (Or, since we abbreviate everything, The Jim.)
for the art
A friend of mine is hosting a fund raiser along with a silent auction and asked me to sell one of my drawings. She also wanted me to write up something about the picture an why I drew it. So I wrote this.
From: Time of the Dragon Slayers
My name is Natalie Paulson. I go by Natle.
I live in Basham Heights, right in the middle of the Dragon Nest. You’ve probably heard about that area. It’s considered one of the most dangerous in the country. Not because of neighboring countries but because of the dragons. Yes, the stories are true. The dragons do attack us, attack our farms, eat our cattle, and force us to rebuild.
We used to fight them. Dragons are smart. They don’t want to be hurt and they learned not to bother us. It wasn’t perfect; we had some problems. Babies came often enough, before they learned how dangerous we were. And rarely, a few from the herd would come, when they were desperate. My parents died because of that, leaving me alone with my brother.
But everything changed when Jorn came. Jorn told everyone that the dragons were dying out and needed to be saved. He said it was honorable for people to save them. People believed him. So people stopped fighting. They burned our crossbows, and banished me from my town, because I would shoot a dragon for my protection.
So when the dragons came again–five, six, maybe seven of them–we could do nothing but watch.
The dragons killed my brother. They destroyed my farm. And still, everyone thinks the dragons are merely misunderstood. Which is why I have to leave now. I have to leave the land that has been in our family for generations, the people I grew up with, and everything I love, to live in a place that I barely know. It is no longer safe here. It will probably never be safe again.
why to draw pictures
So, I said a while ago that the best way to stop writer’s block is to draw a picture of something related to the story. Some stories, I draw more than others. Like Time of the Dragon Slayers
We have one of Justin and Natlie talking, actually just before the town meeting results are found out.
Then I have one with Natlie shooting a dragon at the end. I actually messed up because she should have had a quiver but I forgot it until I colored it in. My bad.
Then this one… yeah. IT’s at the very end. That’s all I’ll say. I’ll probably end up sticking all the pictures into the story actually, because I like doing things like that.
Now, those pictures I all drew AFTER I wrote the story. So how does that help me with the current story? How does that help me to write.
This is a picture from “Miles’ Love”. Now, for those who don’t know the story…. too bad. I’m hoping to work on it like mad tomorrow and get it posted starting next Sunday. We’ll see how I feel though. [EDIT: After my sister read it, she pointed out how boring it was and as such, it never actually got posted. I’ve never had the motivation to fix all the problems with it.]
But what I discovered in this one was I was so concerned because Miles has a prosthetic arm. Originally, I had problems because guys typically don’t go around wearing really long short sleeve shirts (like the guy in red). However, because of the commit that he makes to himself that it is almost like winter from the country he’s been living for the past three years, it made much more logical sense that he would be wearing a jacket or long sleeves, thus, no worries about how long his short sleeve shirt goes.
This is Carmen. You know nothing about Carmen. Carmen is a new character from a story I’ve been tossing around in my head since December time and I finally decide to write.
What you need to know is that she is a doctor working as part of a research group in an area that most people say women can’t survive because women are too emotional. (They say.) Truth is, too, that right now she can’t. Her life is basically falling apart an things far apart worse the further you get into the story.
What’s so important then about a character I haven’t said anything about? Well, when drawing her I realized that she probably has been trying to be as much unwomanly as possible. So, she pulls back her hair into a ponytail all the time, especially while working. She just wears a basic shirt and pants, nothing low, nothing clingy. The only reason why she’s wearing it in the picture is that she is on vacation. And now I have another thing to play around with in the story.
I know; it seems strange that I can somehow get that from a story. And I know that not everyone can draw well. But sometimes it just doesn’t matter. Just do what works, for you.