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.
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?
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 🙂