Steps to a Story: Geography

Here is where authors who set their story in the real world have an advantage over speculative fiction authors: geography.

Granted, I wanted to create my own world.  As much difficulty as it gives me with place names, I like designing the space that my characters are working in.  It can cause problems, however, and my biggest problem is distance.

I will admit that I am not really consistent with distance.  My map of the world for my story has no scale on it; in fact, the distances may not actually be to scale, since I don’t know what the scale is.  I’m also not really good at distance in real life, often measuring travel in time, not space.  As in: I live about 10 minutes from work, or it’s about 40 minutes away.  This works if you are traveling in a similar method to me (read: car or motorized vehicle) but not if you are on foot or horseback. 

I want Matthew to be based somewhere on the border, less than a day’s ride from a certain village (with a certain other character’s farm in it).  That’s fine, except how far is a day’s ride?  Where will that put Matthew on the map?  More importantly, how far does that put his unit from the capital city?  These are all questions that I may end up answering in time, not space, and simply leave it at that.

I hope that doesn’t drive anyone out there crazy.  If it is your pet peeve, please accept my apologies.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tammy
    Nov 21, 2010 @ 01:30:58

    Methinks you may need a cartographer or someone good at figuring out math word problems. 😮

    Reply

  2. pndrev
    Nov 22, 2010 @ 05:51:41

    If it’s any help, 1 hour march on foot is usally taken as roughly 6-8 kilometres. On horseback, about 18-25 kilometres. That is, normal march, not forced march, which could be higher. Though not much, keep all the equipment in mind people still have to haul around.

    Now all you have to work is how many hours of marching is “a day’s ride”. 😉

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Steps to a Story: A Map « Butterflies and Dragons

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