Wow! I haven’t written a blog post for my website in ages. I’m been busy writing in my journal and world building for two different worlds that I’m planning to write fictions in. I have also been keeping a sporadic art journal and making maps for my worlds.

Personal Life

Just some of the boxes I’ve packed these last couple of months.
This is our donation pile. Photo by Kat Sanders

In my personal life, my roommate and I put down the deposit on a new apartment the day before the quarantine started. We have been packing and planning the move during the shutdown. Luckily, I am considered an essential employee for my day job, so I’m still getting normal paychecks.

It sucks walking into an empty office as I’m one of three employees that still has to show up. Sometimes, it’s way too quiet for me and the thoughts in my head get too loud. Those days, it’s more important than ever that I spend time with my roommate and call my family and friends.

In the middle of this quarantine and moving apartments, my desktop died. It’s now one more thing that is going on my ‘To Do’ list to deal with after we move. I have to wait and see how much money we will have left over to see if I can afford a new computer. We are already planning on buying a new couch as the one we have is old. A new computer might not be in the budget. For now, I’m using my roommates’ laptop. I’m thankful that she is such a sweetheart and will let me use it.

World Building

Shakllar is the world I created for my gay supernatural romance that I’m writing…
Created in Wonderdraft by Kat Sanders

I have spent most of the last year or so working on world building. I was getting so involved that my desk looked like it exploded little bits of paper from all the notes I was taking. I was getting more and more confused by which notes went with which world. It was becoming a huge problem, as I was mixing up my two worlds. I needed to find a solution.

I found World Anvil. It’s amazing and while it has paid accounts, you can start out with the free version. I did, though I quickly paid for a year. I have spent the last few weeks entering information into World Anvil and clearing my desk of all those little pieces of paper. Though, I’m not done yet. It’s not only helping me get my notes organized, but it is showing me where my worlds are deficient, like politics and economics.

If you would like to check out what I have so far on my world, check out these links:

BUT I’m warning you, there isn’t much to look at yet. I’m still in the organization stage. There is a lot of pages with names at the top that I still need to enter their information. When I come across a topic, I know I need to write about in my world, that if I make an article for it in World Anvil, then it becomes a reminder that I need to address that issue. Slowly, I am adding my notes, stories, and fleshing out my worlds. I excited to see all the information I’ll have for my story bible once I have transcribed everything.

Cartography

Barking Spider Inn & Tavern – Ground Floor – Created by Kat Sanders

The other fun hobby-diversion-interest-sideline that I’ve taken up which works well with my world building is cartography. I have been drawing maps, mostly free hand, for the last 20-plus years. They haven’t been great maps, but they have been enough for me to get a picture of where my characters are from and where they are going.

Plus, I’ve drawn a map or two or twenty for D&D games that I have DMed. Now, I want something that looks a little nicer than what I can draw by hand, even if my drawing skills are a million times better than they were 20 years ago.

I found two cool programs to help me out:

If you look at the comparison above, you can see that even with the Wonderdraft version of Mytilias that is unfinished, it already looks a million times better. I need to add all the objects like cities, mountains, and trees. Then, I’m planning to make city maps for all the important cities in my stories. I may make city maps for other cities too, but that will happen as time permits.

Mytilias is one world in the Hall of Doors. I will need to make at least five more world maps besides Mytilias for my first story. I have seven characters in the quest group that make up my “good characters”. My main character has been living on Earth for the last 40+ years before she is transported to the Hall of Doors. Two other of my other characters are twins, so they are from the same world (Mytilias). The other four characters are from different worlds, so I’m planning to draw them (Kamen, Arborizar, Takobi, Nathrach-de). Then, the bad guy is from his own world (Eerste), and I want to draw that one too.

Besides mapping worlds, I want to use Dungeondraft to map buildings, cave, dungeons, cities and other useful areas that I’ll need to picture for my stories. Whether with Shakllar or Hall of Doors, the better I can picture where people and creatures are in my stories, the better I can show what is happening. I’ll be able to be see and understand what is happening.

Between World Anvil, Wonderdraft, & Dungeondraft, I have been able to really dig deep into my worlds and flesh them out more than I have in the past. Plus, BONUS, my organization has soared.

Here is the gallery of maps I have made with Wonderdraft and Dungeondraft. There are only a couple so far, but I’ll keep adding to it as I finish maps.

Let me know how you are keeping busy during quarantine in the comments below!