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Picturing a World

Mapping the story

Kathleen Jennings' recent post on Mapping movements in stories sent me surfing the 'net. Eventually, I landed on Misty Beee's map, winner of a 2021 Atlas Award at the Cartographer's Guild. Oh, to be able to create something like it or like Jennings' whimsical communicative sketches! Actually, I do sometimes make rough maps and house plans to help me with my stories, and I highly recommend non-verbal exercises as a way to broaden a writer's experience of her worlds. Here's one adaped from Jennings' post:


Take a favorite story and chart out where the characters move. What would a snippet of the story look like to someone who happened to be on the route? For instance, what if you were chatting to a neighbor about the big do up at the castle and a pumpkin-shaped carriage drove by? Whose house are you in front of? What does it look like? What can you see along the road? How are you and your friend dressed? Who are you? What do you say to each other? Okay, now step away: Where do you go next? What do you do?
As a bonus to her post, Jennings also connected me to Andrew Degraff's Plotted: A Literary Atlas. I've requested it from my local library through interlibrary loan.


Back to the Cartographers Guild awards: If you like that sort of thing, it's certainly worth clicking down through the nominees in various categories.

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