Thursday, May 14, 2009

They went thataway...

Have you ever lost your way in a story? I'm talking about the physical landscape. Have you ever read a story where the character enters the front door, goes to the left to reach the kitchen and then the next time the character enters the front door they go to the right to reach the kitchen?

Or how about the fellow who parks his car in the garage on the side of the house, races into the house through the front door...and later runs out the back door to the garage which has miraculously moved to the alley behind the house?

Some towns even move. In one book Dusty Springs was north of Santa Fe in Chapter Two and southwest of Santa Fe in Chapter Seven. Neeeeeat trick. Sorcerers have nothing on these authors.

I once mentioned that I have maps for all my books. Maps, floor plans, room layouts all for one simple reason. I don't want my boys heading southwest to Dusty Springs when its really north.

One author wrote me a rather curt note informing me that she didn't have time to play around with drawings. She had more important things to do--like writing books. Ahem. She was the one with the shifting kitchen.

I don't advocate spending hours on the project but you know...just a quick sketch with all the pertinent information so that the characters don't get lost. There are a lot of people (like the house hunk) who go through life directionally challenged. He needs a map to get across the street.

However, I am not one of those directionally challenged individuals. Nothing will throw me out of a story quicker than a moving garage, town, kitchen, country. If the couch is positioned opposite the picture window at the beginning of the scene, then by gum, it should still be there unless there was a terrific fight scene and the bad guy shoved it out of the way!

In that case, the good guys have more to worry about than directions.



  1. That's always a challenge for me:) Maybe I better try the map thingie.

  2. Well no, not that particular case but clothing that was taken off suddenly back on again and physical feature changes occur regularly.

  3. I've not had that problem until lately and not with directions. With the shifters I've been writing, clothing is an issue. Where they leave it when they shift and how they find it again.

  4. My FIL likes to take notes on a real map and in the margins of his Tony Hillerman books when he's reading - the danger of putting your fictional characters in a REAL setting! LOL