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Using the Visual

I was flicking through one of my favourite book series, The Jack West Jr series by Matthew Reilly, and noticed the use of maps and diagrams throughout his book. I never really paid attention to them before, I mean, I looked at them obviously, but I hadn’t really thought about his use of illustration throughout his work.

The diagrams he uses help to explain rather complicated contraptions, and they are useful in just being able to look over once to get an idea of what is happening and where everything is.

In my current book, Prophecy of Stones, I have also added illustration. Not in such a way as diagrams of traps, but I have used a map and also added runes.

When I planned this book I really wanted there to be a map, as I love maps in fantasy books. I think it adds something to the feel of another world and culture. But, also, the group of characters in the story are going on a journey, and I thought having a map would help readers quickly visualise where it is the characters are having to go. So, I plotted the route and drew a map, one that I hoped would be accessible to all types of reader.

Map of Lahrinn:

Copyright- Mishka Jenkins

Copyright- Mishka Jenkins

Prophecy of Stones is also the first time I have written a book using multiple POVs. This wasn’t just a writing choice, but also because it suited the story, which revolves around three champions of the prophecy, and I wanted the story told from each of their varying points of view.

To help readers understand when the point of view changes, I have separated them using chapters, but also I created a separate rune to add to the header of each chapter.



Copyright- Mishka Jenkins Copyright- Mishka Jenkins

Being a very visual person, I enjoyed the look that these small illustrations give to my work. But also, because I created them and drew them myself, it also adds a uniqueness to my book that I hope readers will enjoy and appreciate.

Adding them into an eBook, especially to the Kindle, has been a fighting process, but one I managed to achieve in the end! πŸ˜€

Prophecy of Stones will be released on July 31st 2014!

Do you enjoy illustrations in books? Do you like maps in fantasy stories? Do you think they can add to a book or do you think detract? Have you ever tried to add pictures to an eBook?

Progress Report:

Status of Prophecy of Stones: Final read-out. Formatting. Marketing.

Books read: 3/4

July eBook review: Written and ready.

47 thoughts on “Using the Visual

  1. I love a map in a fantasy world to get a feel for how things are laid out in the world. Same with ancient worlds. I am very directional, N,S,E,W in how I think about worlds…even when it is not to scale.

    • I’m glad you liked it! I really wanted to add something unique to the story, but also I found I couldn’t write a fantasy adventure story without at least a map! πŸ˜€

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  2. Lovely idea! I love things like this, it shows how real everything is in the author’s mind and translates really well for the reader! I’m glad you won your battle with kindle formatting!

    • It is fun to add something a bit visual, it really can help pull you into a story and let you understand what an author was seeing for the world they created πŸ˜€

      The battle was a long one, but it was worth it in the end!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

      • Definitely! Just look at Tolkein! I had an idea for a story that centred around a funny clock but as much as I could visualise it in my head, drawing hasn’t worked out for me! So i’m very impressed with your map and runes!

      • You could always give it a go πŸ˜€ The more you draw it, the more it will start working to how you want it.

        I love art and drawing, so I like to incorporate it where I can!

    • I really wanted something that looked individual, but that wasn’t off-putting to readers who don’t normally read fantasy. Some of the fantasy books can have very complicated maps, but I wanted mine to be simple for those who want a fun read πŸ˜€

      Thank you for the compliment! πŸ™‚

  3. I was actually considering doing something like this for Frozen Hearts – creating a map of the land that it’s set in, that is – but since I have no artistic skill whatsoever, it might be difficult! πŸ˜› Your map is lovely, though xx

    • You should give it a go, it might turn out better than you expect πŸ˜€ Plus it’s great fun being able to put the world from your head down onto paper!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  4. Wow your map is incredible Mishka! I love it! I’m no good with drawing myself, so I really appreciate seeing someone take the time and effort to create something like that.

    I have never done drawings for my novels – unless you count a VERY rough sketch I did for my husband the other day when he was doing the cover for my latest novel.

    Fortunately for me, so far my stories haven’t needed one. Although I did get quite a way through writing a fantasy novel for older children before giving up. I may go back to it one day and I might need a map or two… Any chance you could give me a hand if I do??!! πŸ˜‰ (Totally joking of course!!)

    • I do think fantasy lends itself to visual aids such as maps and diagrams, there is something about the genre that feels right to add them πŸ˜€

      It’s always good to give new things a go! Why not try drawing a map and seeing how it comes out? You never know, it might inspire you to finish that YA fantasy, and that can’t be a bad thing.

      I am always around to lend a hand, though not sure how much use I would be!

      Thank you so much for your kind comment! πŸ™‚

  5. Nice. I love maps in fantasy novels. I have a map myself, but it’s for a sci-fi novel series that’s based on another world. I think it adds a lot. I always refer to maps while I’m reading fantasy novels, and it helps me visualise.

    • You know, I’ve never seen a map used in sci-fi, though I don’t read much sci-fi I have to admit.

      What series of your books is it for? πŸ™‚

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ˜€

      • I’ve read two sci-fi novel series that use maps, Dune and Pern.

        My series of books, which hasn’t been written yet, is kind of a mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It’s sci-fi, but there are elements that could be fantasy if the science behind what happens wasn’t understood. The overall idea of this series is that mankind is trying to spread to the stars, and manage to get to one planet, but there are problems resulting from Earth’s military government. Can’t really go into much detail.

      • Thanks. There’s a lot more to it. There’s more information here: http://jaydeearcher.wordpress.com including the first part, which is still an early draft. I’m doing this first book as a serial online, then later putting it all together and adding a lot, changing a lot, and taking out a lot, making it more suitable for a book.

  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE your map and runes! So cool!!! I’m writing a fantasy novel and also have maps. I think they’re extremely helpful, especially when I’m learning about a fantasy world.

  7. I like the visuals, especially if I have to get used to a new world, new characters, etc. I love the map, so I’m really glad you managed to find the answer you were looking for. I’m really impressed and looking forward to its release πŸ™‚

    • Visuals do help me get an idea of what the author was truly thinking when they write about a new world, I definitely think it helps.

      I’m glad you like it πŸ˜€ Can’t believe release day is so soon, and for you as well!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

      • I know! When I told someone about it the other day they said “What? You haven’t published that yet?” It hasn’t been that long! Though I have been talking about it for a while πŸ™‚

        I’ll be thinking of you on Thursday, but I’m sure I’ll be enjoying more posts before then πŸ™‚

  8. Your map is beautiful! When I published my historical novel I included a map for fun. I designed it myself and took some creative liberties with the town. I had so much fun creating it. It reminds me of being a child creating pirate maps.

    • It is great fun coming up and designing maps, and it’s nice to see the world you’ve created down on paper for readers to enjoy as well πŸ˜€

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  9. Those are amazing visuals. What a map, especially! You’ve got some serious skill, Mishka. I love when writers do that – because not everyone can, you know? I sure can’t haha. Well, I haven’t tried. But it definitely does add a dimension of the unique to your book.

    • You ought to give it a go πŸ˜€ It’s great fun! I like adding elements like this to my books, I think it helps give it a unique feel, and hopefully readers will like that too!

      Thank you so much for the kind comment πŸ™‚

    • I only have 3 runes throughout the book, and they aren’t overly important πŸ˜€ I thought it would be a unique way to help readers understand the shift in point of view, whilst linking it to my story!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  10. That map is awesome! I do enjoy a good map or two as long as they’re not all over the book. One at the beginning, maybe one in the middle or end, but that’s good enough for me. You’re so talented!

  11. The runes are such a great idea, and the map is amazing. I really like when fantasy books have maps in them because it helps me figure out where everything is.

    • I agree, especially when the story revolves around a journey of some kind. Having a map just helps to give me a sense of where everything is πŸ˜€

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  12. I think it’s a smart choice to add a map to stories like the one you written. I think it can help the reader understand the environment the characters are in and almost feel like they are a part of the journey. Unfortunately I am not as good as a drawer as you are, so I would probably need an artist to help me if I choose to add illustrations to my story. Actually, I am working on a series of short story mysteries that I thought about adding illustrations to, so this idea is definitely something that has been on my mind πŸ™‚

    • I do love adding visual elements where I can, and I enjoy it in books I read as well πŸ˜€ It really can help to capture a reader and give them more of a sense of the places and maps in the author’s mind.

      Sounds like a fun idea to add illustrations to the short story mysteries! I definitely think it’s worth the effort.

      Thank you so much for the kind comment πŸ™‚

  13. I think the visuals really do add to your work. The map was simple enough to stay in mind after first looking over it, and really helped give a sense of where everything was in relation to each other. The runes, once you got used to them, made it a bit easier to tell who the viewpoint character was for any given chapter.

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