Combining past, present (and most probably future) techniques, there is nothing more valued to a Writer/Author than “The Map”; an ingenious idea first constructed in or around the 12th Century A.D, and used in brilliance of hundreds of Writer’s throughout the centuries.
The Egyptian Clerics used such maps to define their own existence and markings upon the world, while those of the Spanish Adventurers did too. But more closer to home is the methods used by present day Authors, such as Stephen King, J. R. R. Tolkien, and of course, J. K. Rowling, to name a couple of fine examples. In their work, which for many of us is flawless, they manage to continue a ‘fluid’ structure of storytelling. It has become the ‘Key Stone’ method in all their work to adopt some form of ‘Mapping’ in their work, whether that piece of work has been released or not. All the same, the less we use the ‘Mapping’ or implement some kind of method that ensures fluidity of words, we may become lost within our own writings and fall into an abyss of ‘Writers Block’, and umpteen other problems that may halt the creation of an otherwise bestselling novel.
The Build of the Map
What may appear to be a waste of time and effort to some may come across as worthwhile and inventive, as well as very valuable to others. The building of a ‘Map’ is simple, and what’s more, it can be creatively fun to do.
Taking one single example from a random story, my decision to choose a new piece from the upcoming Book 3 of “On a Storyteller’s Night” became necessary to select for its strong characters, not to mention its vast locations. The very construction will become easy and more manageable than any other projects, as to start from the very beginning and introduce something fresh may prove a lot more time consuming on my part.
So, On a Storyteller’s Night Book 1; 1,000 years have passed on the Isle of Storm, four generations of rulers have sat on the seat of power. The God’s, now besieged by their own kind from out in the cosmos descending on Earth, the battle to protect the human race now spills over from both realms of the Islands timelines.
From the brief, almost ‘Blurb’ of the story, we have ‘Source’, which is the very key of a beginning: 1,000 years have passed since Vorelee last appeared on the island. Then we have the differential description between characters: God’s descending upon the Earth, while the human race is battling to survive through the protection of such God’s. Key noting that the human race were the first to reside, though the story may fluctuate, or change completely later in the advancement of details.
When we take the details from above and break them down to a point where they could be placed on ‘Sticky Notes’, then organise them into such a way that they correspond to the entire story, the one thing which may become relevantly missing is ‘The Board’; the background upon which you, as a writer are going to take all those ‘Sticky Notes’ and place them in an order that will become relevant to you.
By now the idea of discovery will have hit home that there are other methods like this already in existence, and which go by other names, such as ‘Writing Trees’, ‘Web-Words’ and ‘The Hive’. Whatever the name and whatever the method that is used, the make-up of the ‘The Board’ is all that should be important from hereon in.
From ‘The Board’, you need to start in the middle, top, or bottom – never the sides, because to start at the sides the story will become incoherent and alien to the fact that a storyline only goes one of two ways ‘Forwards’ and ‘Backwards’.
The basic setup of “The Board” is to show that you know where you’re up to when you complete a ‘Phase’ in the storyline, and only by doing this can you remain fluid with the Character’s, Locations and the Plot (Sub-Plots, too, if you have any to contribute).
Using the method above, even from the diagram provided, the continuity can be expanded to infinite lengths. The expression for expanding this is known as “The Build”, and with it the Writer can extend the ‘Blobs’ (each titled bubble) in whatever manner they like. For example, “Vorelee” can be taken from the top of “The Board” and moved into the place of “Humans”, and “Gods” put in place of “Vorelee”, and so on and so forth, until finally the Writer is comfortable with the setup.
The Mapping of “The Board” regarding “Locations,” can be placed into an exact replica setup as that of “Characters”, where “Vorelee” matches the “Location” whereas the continuity and recall of the “Plot” can be compared and aligned to a state of “Linear” continuity. An overkill of preference, maybe, but the result in which the Writer finds valuable and resourceful all the same. If this technique is followed, then the Writer will not only take a huge leap forward in their output, but also, the story count which one can amount over a much shorter time can be staggering – one thing that is missing from this technique being a Playwright’s dreamboat, is the “Picture board”.
During the storyline, Vorelee is confronted in Naperine, however, the fall-back into Seacliffe unsettles the Council in Caldon, when the soldiers under the command of Kairlen Volless, are killed near the Grey Wood. The final battle and ultimate sacrifice brings the ending to the much fabled Temple Of Dreams.
It is with “The Map” and “The Board” that my ability to create a Story-Short which began a ‘Series’ took shape into what it is today – A collection of books that are ready and awaiting publication. By sharing this information with you, the readers and viewers, my only hope is that it gives you the drive to continue your dreams of becoming as successful as other Writer’s out there. And, if this has helped you, or you feel the need to Comment, please do, I would be very grateful to hear your thoughts on this theory and method.
*Please note: All references made against “On a Storyteller’s Night”, the Names, Characters and Locations, remain under Copyright and belong to Marcus De Storm. Methods of use within “The Mapping”, that of “The Build” and also “The Board”, are of a universal preparation in “Story Creating”, and as such the writer of this article does not stake claim to the design or production of such a key tool in the literary world of Author’s.
© Marcus De Storm 2012