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Writing Meme Day 14

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

I love maps. I love them a lot. Therefore, I've drawn a lot for my stories.

Unfortunately, none of them are on-line. (I'm not sure how I missed doing this, really.) The maps that are most significant and in-depth are those for Altitude, which, as it's not set on the Planet Earth with which we are so familiar. (Though you wouldn't have to know that to read it; the characters are human and Celeste's country of origin is essentially the United States of America. But I digress.) But yeah, they talk about the North and the South kind of the way we talk about the culture clashes between the West and the East (more in a Cold War way than the Far East/Asian type way it's used more commonly now) and the Equatorial Ocean that separates them. I loooooove making maps. I remember in 6th grade social studies we had to invent our own countries and draw maps and come up with all this information about them. I totally got into it and overdid it because it was only the 95 gazillionth time I'd done that before, though the previous gazillion or so were just for fun. Imagine getting to do that for school! :)

So yeah, Altitude is the kind of book that would have a map inside its front or back cover, but it would most likely be a modern political map, not the medieval calligraphic-font types that are in so many of the books that are famous for their fantasy-style worldbuilding. I liked looking at those maps, but I do not want to make my stories the type that require you to look at maps. Not that you were ever required to do so for Middle Earth or anything; okay, so require's not the right word -- maybe what I'm getting at is that I don't want the world to be the point of the story; I want the map to supplement the story for people who are interested, but if you just want to see the story as an allegory for our own world, that is totally fine. Preferable, in fact.

But I still enjoy making maps. :) I considered going into cartography once before it occurred to me that it probably didn't involve a lot of creativity, or really make you that employable at all. (So instead I got a creative writing degree and the employability was totally wrapped up.)

Geography is also highly important for Defying Gravity. You'd think that for a fantastic story about a world where kids can fly, that wouldn't matter as much -- and, indeed, in the scope of the first book I've done, it doesn't matter much at all (though observant people might pick up on some of it) -- but in my head the geography is highly significant. I hope to write a second or third book where this ends up mattering a lot.

Even for stories like those about the Carlson Septs, I had maps. I did several maps of the Carlson family's house on graph paper, drawing the furniture into the floor plan and everything. I also liked making maps of school buildings for some reason, and also pool places, for some even weirder reason. I remember doing one that had like 15 or 20 different kind of pools (one for using float toys, one with weird spray nozzles, a patch of long skinny ones that were just for doing laps, one that was super-crazy-deep (30-31 feet...no dive sticks allowed here, haha), one with lots of water slides, and so on and so forth).

So yeah, I like diagramming locations in all forms. I also like "reading" atlases, and even road maps. I really like being the navigator on car trips. So I DON'T want a GPS, thanks. One day when the computers rise up and take over the world largely because everyone else is lost without their GPS to think for them, I'LL STILL BE ABLE TO FLEE THE COUNTRY. You can call dibs on rides out right now. ;)

What was this about again? Oh yeah, maps for stories. Yeah. Maps are cool.


If we ever go on a trip together, you have to be the navigator. I suck at it. (And it's probably why what passes for maps in my stories are floor plans and whatnot, as you saw if you saw my answer to this question.) Usually if a novel has a map on the inside cover, I don't even look at it!
As you know, I would be happy to play that role. :)

And you're the type of reader whom I wouldn't want to turn off by requiring the map -- it's totally supplemental. Look at it if you like it, feel free to ignore it if not!

BTW. I just have to share this because patting myself on the back isn't fulfilling enough. I have decided that every morning, no matter what other stack of pressing things I have to do (research/writing for my internship, getting visas and other trip stuff in order, applying for part-time jobs because I'm broke, getting professional web page up, etc.) I am going to devote each morning (or 5 out of 7 a week at least, I hope) to writing my stories! I have Claire's story open in another window now and it's coming along, actually. As much as I have tons of ideas, I really need a routine and a goal and pressure to finish it, or I'll keep this "my" project with no consequences for not finishing it, as opposed to not finishing internships or visa stuff and the like. But NO! It's a BIG consequence if I don't finish my story! That is, I won't be finishing what I dream of doing!

So, I'm writing now. *pats self on back* I will finish something shareable by September!

Back to the writing.