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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Building a Story World

Another creative insight into building your world comes through map-making, even if you can barely draw a line. It’s a wonderful way to combine brainstorming and concrete research at the same time. And if you add colored pencils and crayons—well it’s a delightful nurturing oasis.


1. Draw your own, especially if this helps you understand your world.

2. Or if unable to draw, trace. Or get an old atlas and do cut and past to make up your own country.

3. Go into research sections of libraries and ask to look at old maps. Make copies. Then turn them into your own. Several years ago a friend sent me a map of a small town in Holland, from around the 12th Century. It has figures on the streets showing what commerce was done where. A youth is leading sheep down one path. On another is a wagon loaded with produce. The characters of the town are included with the simple street names. One day it will make it into a novel.

4. Look at old city maps, or the tourist versions of historical towns. Then adapt the parts you want.

5. Take the maps and turn them backwards, or upside down.

But set a timetable for your maps and research, especially in early draft stages when you’re still exploring possibilities. Otherwise you might forget to write.

Share: What part of map-making gives you the most creative infusion?

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"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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