Having a plan is a good way to write. I’m not talking an outline here, although an outline can be helpful. I’m talking about a map. Mapping your fictional world is one of the most important things you can do. A map keeps an author oriented in the fictional world. I even use floor plans for characters’ houses. It’s a good way to keep descriptions consistent. I try to do a setting’s page for each location in a story so that I can stay consistent.
I have a folder on my computer labeled ‘background’. I keep a folder called ‘story packet’ in it that holds blank character charts, blank beat sheet workbooks, and a excel workbook that has a worksheet for developing a setting for a story. I use it to jot down notes about the place where my story is set. but that’s not really enough, you have to get a map of the town where your character’s live – even if you have to draw it yourself.
That map doesn’t have to be pretty. I have one that is just a series of rectangles representing various locations like coffee shop, library, city hall, and so forth. That way, I won’t have a character come out of city hall and go left to the library, which I had placed to the right of city hall. Sharp eyed readers see things like that and so can careful editing, but getting it right the first time helps cut down on revisions. That’s why I comb the internet for floor plans and copy images to my background folder. I have several floor plans that I use for my characters’ homes. It keeps me from having multiple rooms in the same exact location. Unless your character lives in a home where the rooms are constantly changing location, a floor plan is very useful. You can even just make one yourself, it only has to be a series of rectangles with appropriate labels, but it can help you in the long run.
So I will leave you with this thought, map your fictional world. It can be fun. It will definitely help you when you place your characters for their scenes and start their action. A map can even help you set the scene up. It can help you figure out exactly where your characters are during each scene and even dictate what they do. A map lets you know the terrain that your characters must deal with. It can affect your story in multiple ways. If you don’t know where your characters are, you will quickly lose track of them and lose readers. So know where your characters are and your readers will know too.