Do you know where you (we) are?
Of course, you are looking at this post on some device or another, somewhere in the time and space of your life.
But, you are also on this side of the summit of the mountain that is your novel. Tomorrow, you (we) crest the top and begin the downhill side!
Take a little time to document this occasion with pens, pencils, crayons, paper – whatever media takes your fancy. There is a mapping exercise in Baty’s book, a fun and, eventually, useful record to possess. You have only to chart it. Following are the instructions:
“The goal of this exercise is to make a map of your fictional world. On the map, you should include all of your characters’ homes, their schools, or workplaces, and any places they’ve already visited in the book. This may be the first time that you’ve thought about the spatial layout of your world, so feel free to make things up as you go.
After you’ve placed everything that already exists in your book on the map, go in with a loose hand and start creatively filling in and adding other details and landmarks… The map is partially for referencing later, but it’s also a creative exercise in its own right. It’s a chance to draw up your world just for the fun and see if any of these off-the-cuff imaginings might be something you’d like to incorporate into your noveling reality.
Also, don’t feel constrained to drawing just one kind of map. For dramas that unfold mostly indoors, you may want to create a floor-by-floor schematic drawing of the important homes, shops, or restaurants, rather than mapping your book on a street-by-street level. Topographic maps may be helpful if you’re writing a story that relies on encampments or precipitous shifts in altitude.
Finally, make sure to color everything in as vividly as possible. Since this exercise is a great way to procrastinate from writing your book, take as long as you like perfecting the algae slick on the town pond with a realistic shade of green.
When you’re done, keep the map close at hand as an update-able inspiration-generator and a handy reminder of where things are in your book.” (pp. 140-142)
If I get to this exercise, I will post a picture. I have some fun ideas…
If you do this, please, please, please share a picture!
Baty, C. (2004). No Plot? No Problem!. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.