The Illusion Conundrum, Part V: Some ruminations on setting and maps

So, here’s something cool. I found all my old notes and maps that I had drawn, from way back when. (I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that it feels like I’ve been writing this book for my entire life.)

So, where are we?

Here’s a quick plot synopsis:

The book takes place in the realm of Ylpha, one half of a world split into three dimensions: Ylpha, its parallel counterpart Omega, and the Between Place. A long time ago, a man called the Felid’shar — some would call him a chosen hero — saved Ylpha from the machinations of dark forces from beyond the Between Place… from Omega. He saved the world, but lost everything in return.

That was a thousand years ago. Now, darkness is creeping back into Ylpha. A group of unlikely traveling companions is called on by a mysterious sorceress to search the world for the reason the darkness is returning.

So, you can imagine that place is an important part of this novel.

I was really obsessed with maps when I was younger, and it seemed like every good fantasy novel needed an official-looking map. Plus, honestly, it provides a good reference point to me, as the writer. “Did I put Gralth too far south of Torryn? Is it… kind of south east? Or south west?” It helps give the world a little more credibility and flavor.

I have also learned to treat the setting as another character — one with its own motivations, actions, and developments. This world is full, and rich, and I can’t wait to comb every bit of it.

Photo by Mati Mango on

The kingdom of Galithnia is one especially important, vibrant place. The kingdom consists of several islands floating in the sky over a far-south mountain chain. The mechanism of their flight is a mystery, but the people of the kingdom maintain that it has been that way for a thousand years. In the center of the main island, in the capital city of Fraen’gard, there is a huge hole that drills all the way through the island — the empty crater of a once-grand mountain that fell away when the land rose into the sky, most suspect. The people of Galithnia have turned it into a port: They carved out parts of this hole and constructed various bridges, walkways, and overhangs. Now, to get goods and services from the mainland below, they employ the services of the dragons, with whom they have maintained a relationship for millennia. The dragons use this port — this giant hole in the center of the island — to load and unload these goods.

Galithnia as an economic and political power would be middling without their relationship with the dragons. The islands are far from pretty much everything, leaving them out of sight, out of mind. But thanks to the help of the dragons, the folks of Galithnia are able to export their products — mostly fruit, meat, and textiles — to the more land-locked areas.

In my novel at the moment, we are getting ready to follow the main character, half-elven sorceress Dranna, and her traveling companion, a young musician named Uehum, into the sky to Galithnia, because the darkness seems to be more prominent there. It’s going to be a pretty wild ride. I can’t wait to get into it.

Guess you’ll have to wait for more as I continue prepping for NaNoWriMo!


Published by Liz

I'm a writer living and working in Cincinnati, OH. I've been writing for ages and ages. Somehow now I'm actually getting someone to pay me to do it.

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