What about a map?
I love maps in books. My junior series has a map.
There are two reasons why it now has its very own map:
Feedback from @flyingpantsediting suggested it
I'm thinking about self publishing.
I set out to draw a map of what I pictured as the township that I was creating, and quickly discovered two things:
Map drawing is really, really challenging
I can't draw (I actually knew this already - but I was hoping...)
I put my feeble attempt of map drawing in a post on my social media and very quickly had a friend reply suggesting someone who could draw me a map - George Bathman Creative.
And so began the process of map making.
To get the map from what I had pictured in my mind, and what was written in the manuscripts, onto a page was a challenge. For me, I see the township as if it is real, the houses, the streets, all like a movie playing in my head. How was someone else going to capture that?
The easiest way was to send George a couple of the manuscripts, some background information I had written on the township, and we had a conversation about it.
Then I crossed my fingers and waited.
(Just as a side note - there is a lot of waiting in the book writing business - a lot of waiting. Waiting for publishers to reply, for editors to get back to you, for emails to be answered, for the book to arrive...
What I've learnt is that all that time is useful to work on other projects - you can get a lot done while the waiting time is ticking away.)
After a few weeks, it arrived - the draft of the map.
I don't know what I was expecting but what arrived was beyond it. Everything I wanted was there and more. The colours were perfect and he had captured the age group of my target audience.
So on to the next step.
After a day or so of looking at it, thinking about it, walking the dogs and some close studying of the map, I sent George some notes of things I wanted changed or added. After a bit more waiting, the final copy arrived.
Receiving the map was like receiving more feedback. I now had something concrete to look at while I was writing and therefore needed to go back to the manuscripts I had written and edit them to suit the map.
I had to look at the details; a character turning left now needed to turn right, a walk from home to school was not three blocks but over a bridge and in through a side gate near the playground. There were also details George had put into the map that now could be worked into the manuscript - details that he has planted, that I can use as ideas for future manuscripts. Clever.
I have the map printed out and in a frame next to my computer. I've found this to be very handy because, as I write, I can look at it to see where the characters are going, what they might be looking at, which way they are turning.
However, the best thing about having a map is that I can imagine a young reader turning to it, finding the steps that lead to the beach, being able to find the main characters' homes or picturing themselves in the township.
The map makes it all a bit more real, and that is very exciting. Thanks George.
Can you tell which map is mine and which is George's?