|Click the picture to see full size--it is quite big, so I could go into detail.|
In my WIP, there are lots of natural disasters. Their world is coming apart at the seams, quite literally. So I felt like I had to know where the fault lines were, where the impact areas would be, etc. Also, my character is on a Quest, so he travels quite a bit. This helps me know how he gets there, and what is there when he gets there.
In fact, making the map itself helped me find out more about my places. I discovered, while making my map, a new country I hadn't even known was there. I knew there was SPACE between Elira and Rohola, but not what was there. Well, if you're making a map, you have to put something there. Turns out--Lora. And Lora is important to the economy of the area, if not directly to the story.
And Meglir? Meglir became important because I needed a place for my antagonist to drop off a bunch of stolen treasure--and where better than the place where they trade in precious metals? And it had to be on the way from Rohola to Lakayazmo. So trade, and the geographical locations of where people are trading from impact the story.
And these are the kind of world-building things I work out while mapping. Maps are important to me, and to my story. I didn't want the story to take the characters off into a place that I didn't already invent--a map is a way for me to keep track of who is where and what that place is like.
If there's interest in how I made it, technically (photoshop, etc) I might be able to do a post on that in future. @ me on twitter (@jajaamanda) or post a comment here, if you'd like to know what I did. I'm not a pro, so all of my techniques are pretty basic: layers, brushes, text, etc.