A week ago, I sat down with the first draft of my novel and started an official re-write. I didn’t just talk about it or think about it. I actually moved things around and added content where content was due. Since then, I turned to other pieces of writing with more critical deadlines and managed to get a hefty cold. So, the rewrite sits. And, waits.
In that week’s time, however, I received my November issue of The Writer, in which several authors focus on the art of developing a sense of place in a story. Phillip Martin (in “Power Your Story with a Sense of Place”) emphasizes that “[p]lace influences stories far more than many writers realize.” It can make or break a story. Linda Lappin (in her article, “See with Fresh Eyes”) suggests creating a “deep map” of a neighborhood to draw material for a story.
Jennifer Neri recently posted about people in landscape, where several writers commented on the art of describing a place. But, Phillip Martin and Linda Lappin seem to imply more than just good, vivid descriptions of a setting for a scene. I’ve heard of authors who map out a whole city where a story takes place. Some draw or paint pictures of a character’s dwelling. For my story, so far, I have a vision of the apartment where my main character lives, but I’ve yet to put the image down on paper. And, I don’t have a city map that mirrors how the story unfolds.
What’s your tactic? Does every story need an intricate and detailed layout of floor plans and elevations and street maps? Do you sketch your images in a notebook separate from the one with character development and story time lines?
I love to draw -my friends say I’ve developed quite a style in the stick figure arena. I’m curious, though, as to how much time an author should spend on creating a visual sense of place versus time spent on developing the story itself?