NaNoWriMo 2016: Mapping

I don't generally write on weekends. I don't know why. I don't really write during the evenings either. But I did get some work done on my NaNoWriMo book over the past weekend, though it wasn't any actual writing. 

My fantasy novel takes place entirely within one small coastal village, and the three main characters interact with a lot of recurring characters who live in the town. So, for my own sanity, I spent a little while compiling a list of all the townspeople I had already mentioned in the four chapters I'd written, along with their age/appearance/occupation/family members/misc. notes. That way I have an easy reference to turn to whenever I need to remember what someone looks like, or what their job is, or whatever else might become relevant whenever they're talking to one of our heroes. 

Another thing I did was take the town map I drew months ago (for the first, failed iteration of this story) and began marking which houses people lived in, keeping in mind factors such as: vicinity to their job, activities they enjoyed (for instance, one man particularly enjoys a nice ocean view, so he lives near the cliffside despite it being a bit of a walk to work), stuff like that. The inn, butcher, clinic, etc. have also all been mapped out. 

Having all of these locations in place not only makes the map another nice reference tool whenever I need to realign myself and see where everybody is physically located and where they need to go, but it could also potentially present some good storytelling opportunities. I want to adhere to this map; if my heroes are on one side of town, really in the thick of things, and realize that Bernard Tilling is the only person who could help them out of this bind, but he's all the way on the other side of town...well, then, my characters are going to have to improvise and think of a creative way out of their situation. It's limiting, but in a way that could force the characters (and of course, by extension, me) to be more creative. 

Anyway, I enjoyed putting together these little reference tools and thought others might enjoy hearing about them and possibly even incorporate them into their own writing process. It's certainly gotten me more excited about my book and has helped breathe life into this peculiar fantasy village.