Stories take place somewhere. Many writers make a map of the terrain where their stories take place. I do too. It helps if you have an idea of the location where your stories take place. I go a step further and map out the interiors of buildings where stories take place. I search the internet for floor plans and choose those that I like which will fit in the story. I use the floor plans to determine where my characters are when they are home or in the office or even in stores. Sometimes I have to create my own floor plans for a few things.
I’ve talked about using floor plans before, but this blog isn’t about staying consistent with where your characters are in space. It’s about what they see. Using floor plans to orient your characters in space is useful, but you also need to look at what your characters will look at. How is the room decorated? What does the place look like. Is it cluttered or does the room look like no one lives there?
You can use interior design software to draw and decorate your rooms, if you want to. However, they can be pricey. I just select a room and describe it in words. Let me show you what I mean with a room for a character, I’ll call Mary.
Mary lives in a condo. Her front door opens to her living room. Across from the front door, a stairway leads to the upper floor. There is a square of tile right in front of the door. The floor has a brown thick fibered carpet. The walls of the living room are a soft ecru. Windows open onto the parking lot and have cream colored sheers and thick moss green drapes. A dark green sofa is along the wall to the left of the front door, by the windows. It’s flanked by two end tables with ceramic jar lamps. A gas fireplace is in the corner on the opposite side of the windows from the door. On the other side of the room an inset bookcase hold some books and knickknacks. A pocket door leads to the kitchen, done in yellow.
The kitchen is tiled with white tile with a geometric pattern in gold. As you enter from the living room, the refrigerator is to the right and beyond that is a door to the basement stairs. A microwave is on the counter opposite the fridge. The stove is over near the door to the basement.
That’s enough to illustrate my meaning. If you describe your character’s home and workplace in such detail, you will be able to keep it consistent. All you really need to do to do this is just describe each ‘set’ in the story in this manner and keep those descriptions handy when you write the story. It will help you make the location real. Your readers will thank you for this little detail. You won’t be confused and neither will they.