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Now that I'm doing a four-book series, I think I need to draw a map. This is daunting.

See, the thing is... I suck at maps. I suck at spatial relationships in general. I can get lost driving -- even walking -- in neighborhoods where I've lived for years. I'm incapable of giving people comprehensible directions to or from anywhere. But I've got this fantasy series set in an imaginary city, and, thus, it would probably be good for me to have some kind of vaguely semi-consistent sense of the place. Since "mental maps" are strange and unattainable things for me, that means I have to draw the damn city.

Book 1 was easy. It's set in San Francisco. There are plenty of existing maps of San Francisco, so I don't think I screwed up the geography too much. In book 2, my protagonist returns to her home city, and I started making up all kinds of crap about the place. There's a bay! Some docks! A big park! A university! A river! A downtown area with some tall buildings! A large junkyard! All of which is great, but my dirty secret is, I have only the vaguest damn idea where anything is in relationship to anything else. Which means I needs must put pen to paper, before I get too deep into book 3 and start violating everything I said about the city's geography in book 2. It doesn't have to be a pretty map, and scale be damned, but I need something I can hang on the wall and refer to.

Oh well. Back in high school, when I ran a roleplaying game set in a world I made up, I drew a map. It was a large-area map, though, without much in the way of city-level scale, which is what I need here. I don't think the result will be anything I can show other people, but it'll suffice to keep my characters from traveling north to a location I specified earlier was in the south.

Drawing a map feels suspiciously like playing, when I should be doing work -- oh, so much work to do! -- but it will save me a lot of heartbreak and misery later on, I'm sure. Wish me luck. And you better believe I'm drawing the thing in pencil so I can fix my inevitable ten million mistakes.

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