April 18, 2011

Monday Mess: Getting Lost Should Be a Choice

It's Spring Break here in Cody, Wyoming, and the family and I are tackling some projects around the house. But right now, I'm the only one awake. The pup woke me up to take him out and then, as always, my mind began to wander through my current writing project, preventing me from falling back asleep. So here I am in my living room in my robe, contemplating maps.

I just spent two weekends in Salt Lake City. Two weeks ago I went down with my son. We've been there before, and I didn't think to print out any maps. I don't have a smart phone and I don't have GPS. I'm old-fashioned that way. I got lost half-a-dozen times too many. We were laughing a lot. And made a lot of phone calls for help. I do have a cell phone. I'm not THAT archaic.

This last weekend, I printed out maps, highlighted the routes, wrote down addresses, and figured out the intimidating interstate exchange I needed to know. SO. MUCH. BETTER. I didn't get lost once. Of course, it helped that my friend who lives there drove some of the time. But when I was out on my own, I didn't get lost once. Maps. Duh.

I need two kinds of maps for the story I'm working on now. First, I need a story map. I have no idea if there's an official name for what I have in mind. Storyboard? Spiderweb outline? I don't know, but I need a big piece of paper, a pencil, colored markers, and some space. I'm thinking the coffee table in front of the couch. I'll have to move the tray of candles, magazines, and my daughter's carnations she received after her performance in The Wizard of Oz. I have some butcher paper from the first (and last) time my husband and his dad "dressed" an antelope in my kitchen. *shudder* There are a plethora of markers in the house, though it may take a few minutes to weed out the dried up ones.

Then I'm just going to have fun and write down characters, connections, place names, directions, histories, conflicts, key magic words . . . map it out and make a beautiful mess. I'm excited to have it in one place I can put up on a wall and go to for reference, add to if needed. I usually keep all this info in a spiral notebook, but with my current project, I want to see it all together. Sure, I'll still have notebook pages of info: language, calendar, character outlines, blurbs of scenes and conversation that come to me too early, to be used later. But I'm excited about this story map.

The other kind of map is an actual geographical map. I've reached a point in the story where I really need to keep track of places and direction. I'll try not to be too messy with this one.

With my maps, I have no intention of getting lost. But that doesn't mean I won't explore a little. If an idea draws my attention, I'll see how it may or may not fit into the story, and I'll be able to see how to get back on track.
I found this as part of Nokia's "Let's never get lost again." campaign. It's true.

Maps. Duh.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Great idea. I've been wanting to put something like a story map on my wall for my WIP. First, I have to clean my desk. Again.

Oh--and I am that archaic.

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