Processing a Visual Block

I mentioned in my last post that I’m in the midst of editing Planes Shifter. This is planned to be the second-to-last edit, because I’m aiming to submit to at least one agent by July 1st. Following this draft, a beta read session and then final tweaks from that feedback, it’ll be off. It’s been read by 4 people in previous drafts, and they got to the end of the book feeling it was okay – so I’m not too worried about “being ready”.

So I was trundling through the second scene, feeling the “it must be perfect” block, when I discovered a minor issue in my city layout. One of the minor character’s houses has been described as being in one part of town. Then in a later scene, it’s near the western gate. And then in book 2, it’s constantly near a particular inn; complete with underground access tunnel; which is vaguely alluded to in book 1.

It turns out that only works if my city is about 25 metres square… (Which I may have indulged the idea of doing, just to make life easy). Deciding it’s best to just shuffle things a little, I put aside my frustrations at the edits, and got drawing.

weekendmarch 005

And after a lot of rubbing out, I finally have a close-up map of my province; complete with the main story base, trade routes, rivers, contour lines for height and vegetation symbols. I may also have scrabbled through the skyrim and oblivion image archives for some idea of how they set up ports.

Once more, I’m reminded that I love all the plotting, planning and discovering of a new story. It’s nice to have some of that still in a story that’s two years old, but also frustrating in its own right. It was a tiny problem – but it was a block that I couldn’t just ignore. Sometimes things need to straightened out even before they become a problem.

And with my new map, I also addressed some of the distance queries I said I “must remember to double check” – so hopefully I can spot any issues as I go along; just by looking at it.

Do you use visual props when things get stuck?

4 responses to “Processing a Visual Block

  1. All the time! I constantly lose my sense of place and write that things are happening in a certain place when it’s impossible for them to be happening there. It’s so much easier when I’m writing about a real location; drawing maps is the only way for me to keep track of how my imaginary world is supposed to be laid out.

    • I’m glad it’s not just me – I had a map but it wasn’t detailed enough for my needs; so I think that’s a learning point I’m going to take forward for next projects.

  2. I just started doing drawings recently! Before, I’d just make plot charts, but I saw another author (Maggie Stiefvater) say something about a “mind refresh drawing break,” and goodness, it really reinvigorates you! 🙂

    • That’s great that you were able to take another author’s method and found it worked for you 🙂 It made me feel that my story had a stronger foundation, which gave me a bit more faith that it would all fit well / work out.
      Thanks for the comment 🙂

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