Geography

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

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

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 🙂

Blog Your Block

Revisiting Old Inspiration

I thought that it might be interesting to re-read some of my old writing challenges that I did via The Daily Post, which was a great source of inspiration to kick start your writing.  So there are a handful of posts which I did put on my old blog which are worth re-visiting.    In everyone’s words – we should always read through our work and re-visit things….they might be inspiration for something new.  Who knows??  One of my very tiny short stories which I wrote while I was sitting on a jetty in Venice has become the inspiration to my first children’s book which I will be attempting to kick into shape on here.  Please see my post on “Sea Monsters and Angel Lights” for the story behind the story.
 
First up is “Blog Your Block”….This is what came to mind on a pretty bleak, rainy walk along the beach where I live.  Written for The Daily Post writing challenge called “Blog Your Block”:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/blog-your-block
 
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The grey pebbles turned and twisted under her sturdy shoes. It wasn’t a pretty beach, she thought. Although, there was a kind of pre-historic peace to the place.  It seemed as if it couldn’t be bothered with day trippers looking to build sandcastles. Only a few fishermen and foolhardy sea gulls clung to the shores of the channel trying to catch a bite for dinner.  The coastguard was watching like an ever present guardian angel.  A few local inhabitants always had their kitchen windows focused on the waterfront.

Strange plants grew which had developed around this harsh, salty, barren landscape. Nothing else grew but scrub plants. There were no trees so the wily, quick witted birds built their nests in the stones and the scrub to avoid the footsteps of people and foxes.

When the wind blew, people walked at a 45 degree angle and when the sun shone they lay flat out on the uncomfortable stones in bathing suits which were quite inappropriate for the area – more suited to a Caribbean island somewhere.

The rain was penetrating every layer of clothing and she kept her eyes fixed on the pebbles.  Occasionally a crushed shell came into view; a strand of mangled seaweed; discarded ropes; broken lobster pots – the plethora of driftwood which came ashore after a storm.   The tides changed with every minute bringing a new wave of stones and shingle but the landscape never changed.  Time to go home. 

***

I think this story was as short as the walk that inspired it!  Cut off in its’ prime.   Brevity has always been my problem ​even in writing essays at school.  Writing a whole novel is going to be a bit of a challenge!  What are your challenges and obstacles?  Some pictures of my block are here:

White horses on the beach

White horses on the beach

Old Inspiration - cloudy sky

Old Inspiration – cloudy sky

Old Inspiration - Stormy Beach

Old Inspiration – Stormy Beach

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