Odds & Ends 11/6-11/12

Writing went well this week, save for one day spent mapmaking after realizing how poor my spatial reasoning skills are. If like me, spatial reasoning is not your strong suit, I might suggest basing your characters’ navigation descriptions off existing blueprints and adjusting as necessary, rather than struggling to describe where you think they’re going and getting yourself hopelessly turned around.

Otherwise you might go back to read what you’ve written and try to draw it out only to find you’ve created a tower that can only be floating above the rest of the building unattached, defying all laws of physics (even taking into account the expanded laws of fantasy physics). I needed a Hogwarts-style staircase ASAP.

Alas, my location was not Hogwarts, so no magical staircases would be moving my direction. So I had to draw, then re-draw, what the building actually needed to look like, then tweak a few sentences here and there to properly re-direct my characters. And then I traced my character’s path on the map according to my descriptions to make sure it worked this time!

Other techniques might include drawing out each turn as you describe it, so you have a trail of breadcrumbs to follow when your character wants to go back outside. If you have enough room, walking it out can also help; I know physicalization always helps me nail down my fight scenes.

You could always try going into the map!

Anybody else out there have trouble reading/describing directions? What are your techniques for keeping locale descriptions clear and accurate?

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