Dragon Maps and Delicious Toes

Hi lovely people!

Who wants to come see me (and six other fabulous authors!) in New York City?  Because that’s where I’ll be next Sunday, October 7th, doing a thrilling middle grade fantasy event at the magically marvelous bookstore Books of Wonder.  YAY!  I’m so excited!

And check out the awesome authors who will be there, too:  Lauren Oliver, Ellie Rollins, M.E. Castle, Adam Gidwitz, Katherine Marsh, and Jacqueline Resnick.  OOOOOO.  Look at all those shiny new books!  I want to read them ALL!

So please join us!  We’d love to see you there!  🙂

A BOOKSTORE! I love books! Take me take me!

I’m afraid that delightful face is not invited, mainly because between the two of us we’d probably end up buying every book in the store.  (la la la!)  Soon I’ll do a post about all his current favorites (or maybe a couple hundred posts, as he has a few bazillion favorites!).

But for today, I wanted to share something I thought Wings of Fire readers might find interesting…the very first version of the map that’s in the books!

Hopefully you’ve opened up a copy of the book and seen the gorgeous map created by Mike Schley, showing the world of Pyrrhia.  What’s extra-amazing about it is how faithfully he recreated my initial sketch…and then made it infinitely cooler!

My original sketch

The final, totally awesomesauce version!

Isn’t that thrilling?  When I saw it, I was like, “It’s the thing from my brain!  It became real!  But more awesome!”

I’ll be the first to tell you I have no artistic talent whatsoever (I wish!).  But I figured I’d take a crack at trying to sketch my idea of the map for three reasons: (1) I wanted the continent to be a cool shape, not just a blob; (2) I really needed to know where everything was when I was writing book one (and planning the whole series)…geography!  It’s astonishingly crucial! and (3) I was inspired by reading about how Orson Scott Card likes to doodle maps just for fun (!) and how sometimes they inspire his stories.

Which reminded me how much I loved world-building when I was a kid.  I used to spend hours coming up with the geography and place names of magical worlds.  (Often I never got around to actually writing any stories there!)  I’m sure this is perfectly normal behavior for your average TV-deprived 8-year-old, by the way.  If Adam has his way, we’ll be repeating the TV deprivation experiment on our own babies to see what happens.  Mwa ha ha and I know, wish me luck with that!

It turned out that sketching a map really was pretty fun, and so useful!  I highly recommend this exercise for anyone writing a fantasy world.  I used an atlas of the world for inspiration — for instance, looking at maps of Alaska for the Ice Kingdom, or Malaysia and Brazil for the rainforest peninsulas, or Cape Cod and the Aleutian islands for the Kingdom of the Sea (the dragon’s “tail”).  (I might confess that this atlas was mine when I was a little girl.  It’s possible that I used to flip through it and fall in love with maps.  It’s quite possible that I’m a geography geek.) (And it’s more than a little possible that that’s one reason I did OK on Jeopardy!)  🙂

All right, enough writing talk for now…time to get back to actual writing instead!  I will leave you with this:

Because who wouldn’t love a picture of a remarkably flexible and charming young man eating his own feet?  🙂

Happy October, everyone!  (GAH!  How did THAT happen?  DEADLINES ARE COMING FOR ME EVERYBODY RUN.)

Quote of the Day:  “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” — Marilyn Monroe