I have heard it said that writers create a world of their own invention when they write. I believe that’s true. Some writers have gone to the extent of drawing maps of the areas about which they are writing and I’ve found that’s a good idea. Every time I write about some place I’ve invented, I have a mental picture of it and I watch as the story’s characters move about its environs. It’s only one more step to put the map of the area in graphic form.
I did that to some extent for A Matter of Time, my first book published by Silverbear Graphics and for The Finding of the Blue Feather, to be published by Silverbear shortly. Now I’m doing it again. I’ve been working on a book with the working title Mountains. In it, a boy grows up in a small town of my invention in Appalachia called Ellan. As the boy in the story grew and became more involved with the population and events of his life, I found it increasingly difficult to make do with my imagination’s picture of the town. So, I drew a map of Ellan.
The map started as a simple drawing of a few streets and some isolated buildings that were pertinent to the story. That did OK for a while but I soon I found that to be not quite enough. I added more buildings and some topographical features. Now, I’ve got the fever. I want to make the town map more realistic—buildings and mountains that give the feeling of being there. I’m even thinking of finishing it so that it can be included in the book.
Is all this necessary? I’m not sure. Will it make the story better or more believable? I don’t know. For now, I’ll fool around with the map a little more. If it gives me a better feeling for the story and the characters, it’ll be worth it. I may even include it in the drafts of the book to get the reaction of readers. That will probably be the final test of whether Ellan does, in fact, settle into her place in the Mountains.