Map149 pages.  1,018 paragraphs.  3,340 lines.  43,683 words.  191,263 characters.  That’s where I am.  Roughly two thirds of it came out of the last 3 weeks.  It’s feeling like I jammed some kind of enema in my ear to make my brain…

You know what?  I’m not going to complete that simile.

I’m finding that I always need to know where my characters are.  That way I can at least hope for a modicum of continuity when they discuss directions, distances, intersection, etc.  Most times when I try to write about an imaginary place, I feel the need to draw out a map first.  Most times the map ends up cooler than the actual writing, leaving me wishing (like Buster of “Arrested Development”) that there was still a market for cartographers.  That’s right, put me in a schooner with a quill pen and some parchment and I’ll render you up a coastline faster than you can say Sir Francis Drake!  I’ll even sketch in some dragons in the ocean (“Here Be Monsters”) free of charge.

I drew this out today in a couple of minutes, just because I needed some rough distances to figure out the timing of certain events.  I keep working through this idea of a city-state that has swelled out to a massive size in its heyday, only to collapse back down over time to something roughly the size of modern-day London.  The inhabitants only know it as “the District” because they have lost contact with any other sizable human populations.  Most of them believe that there is nothing outside of the District, or at least nothing inhabitable.

When the whole thing collapsed back down to its current size, the buildings immediately next to human habitation became the Outskirts, sparsely populated and somewhat lawless.  The regions beyond that, the oldest ones, fell into disrepair and became overgrown, turning into the area known as the Ruins.  Beyond that… I guess we’ll just have to see.

The pillar was old.  Rain and snow had worn the once sharp edges and left the deeply carved inscription barely visible.  Emily shivered as a cold wind rushed past her, blowing dust against the stone with a dry whisper.

With a gloved hand she brushed away the loose dirt from the lettering.

The District of Greater Delhan Ends Here.

Crimes Committed Beyond This Border Will Be Tried

By International Laws and Statutes.

See the Local Border Office For Regulations and Customs.

Your Nearest Local Border Office is Located:

100 Yards East of This Marker.

All Citizenry Are Advised to Stay Within District Limits.

Travelers Beyond These Limits Are Advised to Bring Suitable Protection.

Emily looked to the east.  She could see what remained of the border office, a disheveled-looking building now missing its windows and doors.  The frame and roof were intact, however, and night was starting to fall, so she hitched up her shoulder bag and headed toward it, ducking her head against the wind.

Inside the building were a few broken chairs, a rusted, rickety table, some shelves with contents too rotted to identify, and large desk.  Piles of dead leaves, something that she now took for granted in spite of their non-existence in the rest of the district, had blown into piles in the corners of the main room.  The stone tiles were cracked, the walls peeling.  It had clearly been a long time since anyone had manned this office.