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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Strategy # 1 Habitat Highways: Mapmaking

Build Your Story: 8 Strategies for Writing Innovative Setting with Impact

Another creative method toward an innovative setting 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.


Like the floor plans, it’s a work in progress to develop alongside the actual writing. As you work, don’t be surprised if you find new threads to develop in each area.


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

2          2. Or if unable to draw, trace. Or get an old atlas, make a photocopy, and cut and paste 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 fit 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.

      6.  Or take various photographs or images and make a collage showing landscapes and buildings.

      7. For each key spot on your map, place a visual image instead of the usual dots or circles.

Have fun with them but set a timetable for how long you spend on 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?

Read deep, marcy

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