A Story As A Map

Posted on Posted in General

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!

One thought on “A Story As A Map

  1. You may be interested in http://www.senghorontherocks.net/ – it’s a complete novel that has been enhanced with an accompanying Google Maps view for every page. While on the first sight this looks a bit naive, we put a lot of thought into zooming, panning, jumps and effects (like a adding pointer or a color overlay visualizing the time of day) in relation to the story.

    Unfortunately the text is in German, but maybe it’s interesting nevertheless. It had quite some response in German speaking blogs and media, but obviously did not spread a lot to English media.

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