A Story As A Map

I’m a pretty big fan boy of Wil Wheaton (although I still hate Wesley Crusher – SHUT UP Wesley!) I’ve never had a situation when the Venn diagram of my fan boy nerdness (it’s a pretty big chart) has overlapping circles in both ‘geo’ and ‘Wil Wheaton’… until today. In his blog, WWdN In Exile, Mr. Wheaton has a pretty neat post about how he mentally thinks of a story. Rather than try to describe the relevant bit, I’ll just quote it here (and hopefully not violate Wheaton’s Law in doing so):

When I write fiction, the first thing I do is break the story into acts, then into important things within those acts, and then into a few key scenes. Think of it like a map, with some pins pushed into it showing a route from beginning to end. It’s a zoomable map, so some of the pins are closer together on a well-defined path, while others are more general.

The whole thing struck me as rather Google Maps-esque way of thinking about story telling. It’s actually inspired me to pick up the pen a bit more in the future because it gives me a very accessible way to think about story telling. It seems like it’s a mental model that has applications even for those working on non-fiction, so I thought I’d pass it along!

The Geography of the Death Penalty

GeoCurrents has an interesting article on the geography of the death penalty in the US. Most people are aware that Texas has executed the most prisoners since 1976. GeoCurrents does a pretty good job of succinctly detailing a few other geo-facts about the death penalty. They detail the current geography of laws, which are sometimes complex. They detail the complex geographic relationship between murder rates and the death penalty. Finally, unsurprisingly, they detail the relationship between national politics and death penalty policies (although it’s a touch odd since they themselves point out state political leanings have a stronger influence on death penalty laws than national ones). I really enjoy short pieces like this that somewhat catalog the issue with maps and GeoCurrents does a good job of showing geographic relationships of current issues.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t do a quick shout-out to GIS.Com’s Twitter feed (@GISdotcom), since I saw this article on their feed. Check it out if you’re a Twitter user and want to see links to some great GIS articles around the web!