So the short story’s done in first draft, clocking in at 7,300 words. It still needs a title (hmmmm…Camel?) and a thorough going-over, but for today it, and I, rest. By which I mean, “signing several hundred blank pages.” And doing the dishes. Because yesterday was about writing 5,000+ words, and the dishes suffered for it.
In other news, the Deluxe Scrabble edition which is our Yule present to each other arrived on Friday, and has been sitting on the Mencken Table making with the come-hithers. We have, so far, Been Strong.
Also! The Christmas catalogs have begun to arrive. I love Christmas catalogs, they’re so full of. . .stuff. Ridiculous, useful, in some cases sublime stuff. Things I never knew existed. Truly, Christmas is a season of joy.
I’m still working my way, page-by-page when time allows, through Maphead, which is continuing to amuse. I’ve just finished a chapter dealing with (among other things, like the National Geographic Geography Bee, and people who turn maps upside down so they’re pointing in the direction of travel) people who make up their own geographies.
The 1942 smash hit, Islandia, was the lifework of Austin Wright, who began imagining his world when he was a boy, and continued to work on building its culture, language, geography, and customs throughout his life, until his untimely demise. (Read all about it here). The papers from which Mr. Wright’s widow and daughter extracted the novel ran to manymany hundreds of pages.
Also discussed, of course, is Tolkien, and Brandon Sanderson, who is quoted as saying something like it’s the maps that allow people to immerse themselves in fantasy novels. A sentiment with which — speaking as someone who skips over, and is frequently annoyed by, the maps — I am not in agreement. Having a map of Mirkwood Forest doesn’t make me “believe in” Mirkwood Forest; I believe in Mirkwood Forest because it’s real. Sheesh.
That aside, and speaking as someone who, at an early age, started in to build what became the Liaden Universe®, I’m amused by the author’s assumption that people who tend toward that particular imaginative exercise are inevitably mapheads and/or that maps will definitely be part of the process of defining the world.
I am. . .whatever the opposite of a maphead is. Unless I’ve walked an area, a map of it makes no sense to me. If I have walked an area, then I can “see” the houses and the landmarks on its map. I have a map of Old Orchard Beach hanging on my wall. It serves the same function, for me, as knots on a memory string, to remind me of locations I already intimately know.
It amazes me that Steve (who is a maphead) can look at a map of foreign climes and immediately know how to get from Point A to Point B. How’s he do that?
I guess I’m saying that there won’t be any maps of the Liaden Universe® coming anytime soon.
But — here’s a question for all you voracious readers out there — do maps lend weight or reality to your fiction-reading experience? What (else) makes a world “real” to you?
. . .and I’m off to do the dishes.