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I am a writer and dreamer, currently working on blogs and a book series.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A Writing Break: Map It Out

Maps are fun.  They give us a way of seeing a place and all its details before beginning our exploration.  The book I reviewed in my previous post, "Paris was the Place", talks about maps and the narrator-protagonist describes Paris and how its streets are laid out.  Here is Paris's subway map:

Real Paris Subway Map

Subway maps are also interesting, especially those of Paris and Japan.  I haven't traveled very much, so when I was playing the video games Nancy Drew: Danger by Design and Shadow at the Water's Edge, the maps were a bit daunting.  There are just so many stops!

Nancy Drew Paris Subway Map

I'm a writer, so why am I going on about maps?  Well, because maps are useful for writing; you can map out your story or create a map to help you visualize the world you're creating.  Sometimes, the ideas won't come to me or I struggle to write a scene with the right words, so I turn to design and images.  That way, I'm still working on the story, just from another angle which can cure my Writer's Block.  

What I've done so far for my novel series is room blueprints.  I think about the room's shape (example regarding a bedroom/living room: "Would a bay window be appropriate or useful for the character(s)?"); the room's decor (example regarding a restaurant: "Do red and white checkered table clothes suit the restaurant's image?"); the room's atmosphere (example: a library would be silent, save for turning pages, footsteps and the occasional cough).

I enjoy designing more personal spaces like bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms because they add to character development.  In the Nancy Drew games, there are very few bedrooms you can explore.  My favorite one is that of Abby from Message in a Haunted Mansion.  Now, Abby likes astronomy, ghosts and holding seances.  Her room emphasizes and highlights her personality in different ways:
Abby's Room
We can see from the above image the colors which are blues and purples.  They create a mystical feeling.  Adding to this are the swirls in the bed frame which give off a fluid vibe.

Abby's Nightstand
Upon closer inspection, we can see that the table cloth with its moons and stars along with the candles continue the mystical theme of her room.  We see that Abby likes romance stories and the photo shows she values family or friends.

Abby's Desk
Not surprisingly, Abby has a Tarot deck and a book on fortune-telling.  She also has more photos of family or friends in the room.  Here, we can see something more average: magazines.  So, Abby comes back down to Earth now and again.

Abby's Bookshelf

Lastly, we have her bookshelf.  The bookshelf itself is curved and consistent with the fluidity theme of the room. The book you can take off the shelf is about the Chinese zodiac.  Additionally, Abby has a palmist hand statue and a pyramid, thus completing her collection of mystical objects.

For a more complete view of her room:

Birdseye view
There are so many elements to consider when creating a map or blueprint.  Happy mapping!

Real Paris Subway Map:  http://www.aparisguide.com/maps/metro.htm

Nancy Drew Paris Subway Map: http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/nancy-drew-danger-by-design/screenshots/gameShotId,175832/

Abby's Room images from arglefumph's video walk-through: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HlzSiN3re8

Birdseye view of Abbey's room: http://www.herinteractive.com/2015/04/nostalgic-thursdays/

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