m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...


Holly Lisle has lots of exercises and essays about writing at her website, and even a podcast. I was reading the one about worldbuilding, How Much of My World Do I Build: A Workshop for New Writers, Underbuilders, AND Overbuilders when I got distracted by a statement about the lack of world-building software:

If you’re working in fantasy or SF, you are pretty much on your own. No programs exist to create maps for you, nor should they — neither names nor geographical details would be well-served by an automated solution. The feel of your world will be determined by these things, and they shouldn’t come from a cookie-cutter program.

Holly Lisle has some wonderful handmade maps—big color ones linked in the essay above, or monochrome ones like the world of Korre–but there is software out there for those who want to cheat at world-building.

The first thing I found by googling was a suite from ProFantasy Software. NBOS Software has a similar product line. Check out my mapping and Terragen categories for some free options.