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Getting My Bearings

August 23, 2012

I love maps. Whether nestled inside the cover of a fantasy tome, or tucked into the glove compart- ment of my car, a paper map still gives me a better sense of where I am and where I am going than any GPS ever will. I like to see the big picture, and I like to dream about places on the map I haven’t seen yet.

Today, I decided to do the same with my writing goals. I made a mind map, starting in the middle of the page with my dream of publishing and then just listed everything I could think of that would contribute to that goal.

And I used colored markers to make it pretty to look at.

That’s a lot of stuff! And I’m sure I will be adding more as I progress.

What I’ve decided to do, as a way to set goals and check them off, is to highlight one facet of this map every week. Once I’ve completed the smallish goal, I get to check it off.

This week’s goal, in addition to my ongoing work on the revision, comes from the critique section of the map, where I’ve decided to finish editing chapter two of  ‘The Tempest’s Serenade’ and post the revised version at Critique Circle.

Speaking of revision. I edited three pages yesterday and three more today, to finish revising scene forty (of sixty-nine scenes.) I know, that’s not a lot, but I’m hoping the little steps add up in the end. I am determined to make some headway this weekend!

So, that’s what is on my scenic route. What is on your writing map? Any tips to help me keep my bearings?

  1. August 24, 2012 11:45 am

    I love this technique. I hope it works well for you. I use the bubble drawings for character motivations. When I’m trying to get all the relationships straight, how the characters feel about each other, the bubbles come in handy.

    • August 24, 2012 7:00 pm

      Hi Kristina,
      Welcome to A Scenic Route!
      I’ve actually used this idea for plotting too. Having all the possibilities clustered this way gives me an easy way to evaluate my next move.

      Happy Writing. 🙂

  2. Prue permalink
    August 24, 2012 2:05 pm

    Woo! Every little helps. That’s what I told myself when I did a couple of jobs in the garden today (it’s huge and Mr Prue did so much of it).

    Mind maps are wonderful and can help one to be so creative. I love your colours.
    Maps too. We have a huge collection of OS maps and I can just sit looking at a map and read it much in the same way as a book.

    • August 24, 2012 7:50 pm

      Hi Prue!
      Yes, I have to keep that in mind, and actually have found myself feeling so much more creative during these shorter revision sessions. It might be something to consider, that instead of beating myself up about how long this revision is taking, to focus on the journey instead …
      Hence the title of my blog. 😉

      Enjoy the garden! When it is finished it will be a lovely reminder of the times you and Mr Prue had together.

  3. August 24, 2012 7:38 pm

    Are you kidding? You’re over half way there! Congratulations.
    As usual, your blog is lovely.

    Maps are great. I draw them for battle scenes. Battle scenes are hard to visualize, and now I realize why strategists use game boards (virtual or otherwise) for planning attacks.

    Also, I purchased a map of Washington, DC for writing my opening scene. I didn’t want to make a dumb blunder any one who knew DC would notice!

    My tip is look at your maps – alot. This sounds odd but, in the heat of writing, remember to consult your plan before you wander away from the goal.

    • August 24, 2012 7:52 pm

      Yes, maps can save a lot of rewriting!
      In first draft everything is moving too quickly for me to spend much time orienting myself, but now that I’m revising every little thing matters, doesn’t it?
      I would love a peek at your battle scene maps!

  4. T.F.Walsh permalink
    August 24, 2012 10:33 pm

    I always use maps – I draw them up myself so I can visualise everything:) I like the idea of the bubbles… might have to give that a go. Thanks for sharing.

    • August 25, 2012 11:28 pm

      I’m only beginning to get involved with mapping things. I thought that it was something only hard core fantasy writers did!
      I’m starting with bubbles, and working my way up from there. 🙂

  5. August 25, 2012 8:13 am

    Wanted to like your post, but couldn’t find a like button. I love maps too.

    • August 25, 2012 11:29 pm

      Hi Pat,
      Welcome to A Scenic Route!
      So you did one better and left a comment. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  6. August 25, 2012 11:22 pm

    Mind maps are pretty awesome. I’ve always been kinda a technology junkie so I usually use software to make them, although lately I’ve been experimenting with writing old-school style using an actual pen and a notebook, kinda like I used to do when I was a kid. But then I have to type everything into Scrivener or whatever so my stuff is in one place and backed up online, so I’m not sure it’s an efficient way for me to produce some words.

    It’s kinda fun, though.

    • August 25, 2012 11:34 pm

      Hi Mike,
      Have you tried importing images (jpgs and I think pdfs too) into Scrivener? I figured that out a few months ago, and now I have images all over the place! Just drag your image into the new text doc and there it is, all shiny and pretty.
      I thought about making my map on software, but something about the connection between my hand and the page makes it easier for me to think. That, and I’m a bit slower on software myself. 😉

      • August 25, 2012 11:41 pm

        I haven’t tried that with Scrivener, but it doesn’t surprise me that it can do it. It’s really pretty handy.

        I’m actually not as good about keeping all my stuff in one place as I should be. Theoretically I use Tinderbox for notes and Scrivener for actual writing, but in reality I have notes in Tinderbox, two paper notebooks, and Evernote. One of the things I’ve been meaning to do before resuming work on my revision is to consolidate my notes before I make too many more of them in various places.

        Mind mapping software can be pretty good and automate a lot of the structural stuff, freeing the user up for putting down thoughts. But you’re right…there’s something about pen and paper that creates vibe that software can’t reproduce.

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