I always have difficulty visualizing how a room is set up or I just don’t put that much attention into it. I quickly realized how wrong this was because you want your readers to see a space, especially if it’s an important area. If you ignore how it’s set up, you’ll only confuse and frustrate your readers. They want to visualize the spaces you create, so you need to make a conscious effort to plan your locations.
Having weak locations might seem like the least of your worries when it comes to writing, but it’s all part of being a descriptive writer. Describing a house or building might be moments you want to rush, but you need to give them care and attention. Using this description—brown, single family, two-story home—is not exciting. It’s not even really worth reading, to be honest. We need to experience the house with all of our senses. What does the house smell like? Like fresh cotton? Or musty? Obviously, these two smells are very different and will lead to a different understanding of the house. Is it dark inside? Does natural light stream in through the clean glass windows? These descriptions are off the top of my head, but you need to take the time to think about how you want your locations to be perceived and what you’re trying to say.
Everything in your story should matter.
So, how could you improve how you build your locations? Keeping those visualizations in your head works for some people, but you can get creative. If you’re a competent artist (which I am not), you can do some sketches and refer back to them. However, for detailed space building, I recommend this site—Room Sketcher.
Room Sketcher allows you to easily build rooms and the program is free. If you’re looking for help, I think this is a great idea. Otherwise, find a good way to plan your spaces and keep them fresh in your mind. Take the extra step.
Are you still stuck for ideas for National Novel Writing Month? Or are you working on a novel at a more leisurely pace? Here are 102 resources on Character, Point of View, Dialogue, Plot, Conflict, Structure, Outlining, Setting, and World Building, plus some links to generate Ideas and Inspiration.
CHARACTER, POINT OF VIEW, DIALOGUE
Advantages, Disadvantages and Skills (character traits)
Family Echo (family tree website)
PLOT, CONFLICT, STRUCTURE, OUTLINE
SETTING, WORLD BUILDING
TOOLS and SOFTWARE
My Writing Nook (online text editor; free)
Bubbl.us (online mind map application; free)
Freemind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
XMind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
Liquid Story Binder (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $45.95; Windows, portable)
Scrivener (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $39.95; Mac)
SuperNotecard (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $29; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
yWriter (novel organization and writing software; free; Windows, Linux, portable)
JDarkRoom (minimalist text editor; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
AutoRealm (map creation software; free; Windows, Linux with Wine)