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 thought I was starting at the beginning but it hasn’t worked out that way at all. After my first burst of inspiration for beginning a novel came in Venice, my next came on a trip to Pembrokeshire and a walk at a glorious beach called Barafundle Bay. Continue reading →
This is another writing challenge which I started for the Daily Post and has ended up being a slightly spooky image of a fairground. I have always found fairgrounds and circuses to be rather odd and intriguing places.
The challenge was to use five nouns from the following list: The lake. The night. The crickets. The ravine. The attic. The basement. The trapdoor. The baby. The crowd. The night train. The fog horn. The scythe. The carnival. The carousel. The dwarf. The mirror maze. The skeleton.
The skeleton danced at midnight with the melody of the carousel reverberating through his hollow bones. He yearned to touch the carnival animals again and jest with the dwarves. His life of skin and flesh had been full of colour, light and music and how had he loved it!
Skeleton Danced at Midnight
The crowds spun through the circus screaming with laughter and candy-floss induced mania. It was a sugar-spun world. The fat lady solemnly ate her way through fifteen courses; the bearded lady combed her hair and the iron man lifted trucks to practice his art. Animals preened in their cages and the big top shone like a beacon in the night sky.
The carousel had been his creation with the pretty horses with their painted tails flying. How he loved their graceful motion. Up and down and round and round. They never stopped their flight until that fateful day when he lost his footing and fell under the painted horses’ hooves. He lost his flesh to the carousel but honoured it with his bones.