“I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle–something heroic, or wonderful–that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.”
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of geography in a novel is the fantastic map at the start of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. I have to say that I’m not a natural cartographer though (as far as I know!), so I’m not sure if I could create such a work of art.
Geography and maps
So how do you set about creating your world. A very useful mind map which came from my crime writing course was all about location and sense of place. Is it going to be a real place or made up? Does it evoke any emotion in me or the reader? Is it a place that lots of people will know? Can the reader visualise what you’re describing?
Location and Sense of Place
I seem to have started with bits and bobs from my travels which inspire the stories themselves. So I’ve taken the quayside from Venice, transported it to a beach in West Wales and added the town in. My novel is turning into a bit of a murder/adventure story which involves sailing, so there will be a fair amount of coastline to consider, which in my mind is currently the south coast of England. There will have to be the girl’s home town which she runs away from and the place she ends up. So we need to factor two towns/locations in. I don’t envisage these places being hundreds of miles apart though – I would like them to have the same sort of feel to them. Perhaps, identikit fishing villages along the Cornish or Devon coast?
What I am finding though is that I’m having to move people around a lot in my head so I think it might actually be easiest to draw a physical map just so I can see where each character is at any given time – I wonder if this is what Tolkein realised?? Has anyone tried this?? Maybe it would be like those old WW2 movies, moving planes around with a pointer 🙂
I was looking at my bookshelf today with my children’s books on it and I was delighted to see that the books were so well-loved! I can safely say that there is not one book that I have bought as an adult that is so well-read and falling apart at the seams! Either I don’t read enough as an adult or maybe I’m just reading the wrong things!!?Continue reading →