CREATING MAPS OR SKETCHES FOR THE WORLD OF YOUR STORY
In my last post I talked about creating a world for your story, and this post kind of goes along with that one. When you’re building a world, especially a totally made-up world, you may want to write a history of that world, and along with that history, you may want to create maps and sketches of that world and the characters that dwell there.
I’m not sure if a lot of writers do this or not, but maps and sketches are tools I’ve used often in my writing. And maps and sketches don’t just have to be for some alien planet or fantasy world, they can be helpful for any story. If a large portion of my story takes place in a house, I’ll draw a diagram of that house. In the diagram, I’ll draw where the rooms are, the major pieces of furniture, the doors and windows, which direction north is, etc. For my book THE EXORCIST’S APPRENTICE, I drew a map of the house where much of the second half of the story takes place. For my novel THE DARWIN EFFECT, I drew the schematics of the spaceship they were on. I also drew a map of the entire town of Edrington for THE SUMMONING.
Drawing diagrams, maps, and sketches helps keep things straight in my head as I write, and keeps things logical. You don’t want a character entering the master bedroom off of the living room early in the story and then have that character enter the same bedroom from a hallway later in the story. Many readers will pick up on this flaw even if you don’t.
As far as fantasy is concerned, it almost seems mandatory to include a map of the land where the story takes place. I wrote a book with a friend of mine called THE CHANGING STONE (which we still haven’t published yet), and we created a detailed map of the continent along with other detailed maps. Those maps helped me keep details in the story straight while writing it.
When it comes to sketches, they can be useful if you’re writing a horror story and want to sketch out the creature or monster you’re trying to describe. I’ve used sketches many times in my writing. Even though I created a map/diagram for the saloon in HOPE’S END: ANCIENT ENEMY 3, I still wanted to draw a sketch of the place so I knew exactly where the tables were and what was on the walls, and how the place felt.
I think maps, sketches, and diagrams can be useful tools to help you with your writing. What do you think? I would love to hear your comments.
Next month we’ll talk about naming characters and places in your story.
Until next time . . .