You know …, I am a writer as well as an artist but most of what I have talked about recently pertains to my artistry. I think today I will talk about writing. However, I am not going to bore you with any process I use since I really don’t have one. Usually my stories come out of some idea I want to get across or a scene playing in my head like a movie needing to be told. No, what I want to talk about are appendixes.
I think the first real appendixes I encountered were in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. OMG. How great were those. Here you are finishing one of the greatest fantasy stories of all time but you don’t want it to end. Then you start leafing through the appendixes. Hell, there are almost short stories written here. The world is expanded beyond the scope of the narrative, becoming a living history of an imaginary world. Ever since Tolkien I have loved books with thick appendixes. Especially the really emotionally draining books where you need time to wind down from the high they give you. To me, the extra content after the story is like the dessert. I love them all character vignettes, historical time lines, magical descriptions, and back stories.
Another thing I like is a map. Maps make the worlds more real. No matter how vague the map, I will find myself stopping mid paragraph to find the place mentioned on the map at the front or back of the book. Seeing the relationships between areas of the map or the path the characters took from one city to another just adds life to the story. I end up imagining the characters using the map or maps to find their way. If you ask me about maps, I will say “Yes sir, can I have some more please!”
So, I hope you won’t be surprised that several of my stories have maps associated with them. I have as yet to pull them into the computer because I was not sure how I would handle them, but with Gimp 2.8, I feel that I can make them pretty nice. However, the real treat will come when I start shaking down my actual novel. I have a large map with many locations covering an entire continent. Add to that the fact that, as I am creating the story, I am working on a character lists as an appendix. It came about naturally out of a need to keep people straight in my head. Finally, I have planned something for my novel that I have not seen done yet. I won’t say more than that at this time because I want to surprise you, but I think it will be cool and unique.