Thursday, April 5, 2018

Road Trip

I LOVE a good map. I have an extensive collection of road maps, old maps, atlases, and home drawn maps. I've talked to some authors and readers who don't understand the importance of a good map. After all, we have GPS...right?

I don't. Never had it. Don't want it. It's just another way for folks to know where I am/what I'm doing. If anyone doesn't believe that, they haven't been paying attention to your average crime show. I haven't gone anywhere exciting lately, but who knows? I might.

I use maps to plan my strategy when I write. Are there mountains nearby? Caves? Rivers? How can I use them in the story? Often, the geography of an area can serve as an antagonist.I don't understand authors who fail to use this resource.

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who have inherent direction finders in their brains. And those who can't find their way across the street without their GPS. This is exactly why I advocate everyone learning how to read a map. When/if the power grid goes down, everyone should know how to get out of town. Seriously.

Waaaaay back when the hunk and I first married, we decided to celebrate our six-months anniversary by taking a road trip. Chicago to Arizona. We were about two hours down the road when the hunk told me to check our next route change. And we discovered the atlas was at home. Well, he panicked.
I told him I would get us there with no problem.

Not to put too fine a point, he didn't believe me until I directed him to turn into my grandparents' driveway...three days later. We drove straight there with no detours. No getting lost. He never got over it. And that's how I ended up as the family navigator. I can get us almost anywhere, but I always like to check out the maps first.

Speaking of checking...if you're an author and you're going to mention a specific route number, make sure you check that it actually goes where you say, because I once threw a book across the room when an author didn't check...wasn't even close...and I never read another of her books. It's a simple thing to check--and if you can't check such a simple thing, what does that say about the rest of the 'facts' in your book?

Get a road map. Use it. Don't get lost!

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