Monday, November 9, 2009

Map Quest

I’ve been thinking. Uh oh, you know what that means—I’m going to throw some questions at you. You’re exactly right. I’ve been thinking about maps and how as writers our work can represent a certain type of map. I thought we could have a little fun today. Read the following and tell me which one best describes your writing style (if you’re more of a reader than a writer, try to pick the one that describes why you read a book, as appropriate).

The Maps:

X Marks the Spot: You constantly write toward resolve. You have a goal in mind, whether that goal is word count, a certain character growing in a specific way, or for your work to come across startling on every page, that X meets you on every page, reminding you of where you’re headed and what you need to do to get there.

Treasure Chest: You work hard for the money. It’s about being paid. Sure, there’s thrill and mystery along the path, but you’re on the hunt primarily to earn some bucks at the end. Dollar signs are found around every corner and at the start of every new chapter.

Climate Map: Writing is like an experiment in sensory details for you. Discovering a new way to express a feeling or to write about an experience through sight, sound, touch, taste or feel is what it’s all about for you. You go beyond that to describe undefined senses as well, periphery, sixth senses and ways to absorb the world. Description and details reveal the exact temperature of your work. The moisture in the air, the rainfall and the barometric pressure all combine to create a palpable, descriptive work.

Where’s Waldo: There’s only one Waldo, just as there’s only one you. You write to project your voice out into the world, aware some may not find it, some may simply skim over who you are and all you’ve written, but you write anyway. There’s no mistaking your work. Your voice is resilient, clear and wonderfully identifiable. It’s the reason people read your writing. They read it to find you.

Topographic: You pay close attention to how everything flows in your writing. You also lean into conflict at just the right times and pace the work out beautifully. There are peaks and valleys, moments of high and low tension, rocky terrains of conflict, but overall when you take a step back, holding the map from a distance you notice how well designed the landscape of your work is.

The Hundred-Acre Wood: You’re known for creating believable characters with rich personalities. Once someone has read your work they feel as though they personally know those they’ve read about. You also are keenly aware of setting and timing. Just as a “Hoo-hoo-hoo” is distinguishable from an “Oh, bother,” you have a way of making even your Eeyores unique and lovable.

Road Map: Things may get crowded, layers and conversations running every which way in your writing, but there is notably a movement of getting from point A to point B. You are all about driving your work along with an adventure to destination attitude. You can have several stories and subplots going on at once, but ultimately your piece will end up exactly where you intended.

Right about now I bet you’re scratching your head trying to establish which map you are. I’ll provide a nice distraction by telling you which one(s) I am.

Without further ado:

I’m of course a combo. Where’s Waldo meets the Hundred-Acre Wood. That would make a good book actually!

Which map best represents you as a writer (or reader)? Feel free to invent your own map to describe your style.

*photos by flickr


  1. I guess I'm a Waldo. I read other people's ideas and think, mine is definitely differnet and me. :O)

  2. I think I am Waldo with a Road Map! :) I know that my writing reflects my individuality because I often write about my life experiences. But, I can wander all over too - all while getting from A to B! :)

  3. Very cool concept and lots of fun to read. I think the topographical description is the closest for me. So much preliminary outlining and thinking involved before I take the trip. I plot the flow in detail and stand back to look, just as you said, to see if it is a plausible journey. The only problem is getting bogged down in the planning stages.

  4. Awesome post! What a great analogy! This was a lot of fun.

    I think I'm a mix of a climate map and topographical. No wonder I feel so conflicted at times!

  5. I am definitely an "X Marks The Spot" kind of girl!

  6. Well, since I work in different genres, I guess I need one overall mapping system that might get me to my destination in several different ways. So I'll choose GPS Navigation system. Depending on what I'm writing that day, memoir, fiction, blog posts, I'll program in my destination, and let my words take me there ;)

  7. I think I've been all of these at one time or another.

  8. Where's Waldo & The Hundred Acre Wood! But I would love to incorporate a little of X Marks The Spot!

    Great post Wendy, insightful as always!

  9. Oooh, I LOVE maps. One time I asked for a Road Atlas for my birthday :)

    I am definitely an X Marks the Spot girl, with One Hundred Acre Wood mixed in.

    What a fun post!

  10. I think the climate map. I'm a visual and tacticle person anyway. Love your analogies! I've always loved the way things look from the air. I think God has the most fascinating view.

  11. LOL Cute post. :-)
    I think I'd be the climate map and maybe topographic. :-)

  12. Maybe the Hundred Acre?? I love digging into personalities:)

  13. Definitely an x marks the spot and road map! Surprise, surprise! :) I need my trip planned out ahead, and I watch each and every sign along the winding way!

  14. A cross between Climate Map and Hundred Acre Wood...ya, that's me :)

  15. I think I'm an x marks the spot road map. But I need a "You are here" x as well.

  16. Great post, Wendy! I wish I felt confident enough to pick one...I guess Where's Waldo fits best right now.

    God bless you richly this Monday!

  17. Diane, I think Waldo is one cool dude.

    Lauren, I liked the mention of wandering. That's just my brain. :D

    Ava, That's fun to know about how. I enjoy learning about how differently people go about the writing process.

    Kristen, An intriguing mix I must say. Makes me curious about your work.

    Jennifer, I love that you owned that with authority.

    Joanne, I'm lovin' that you threw GPS in there as an option. Nice and culturally appropriate.

    Susan, Very well may be the case for me as well. Might be why I was able to come up with them.?.

    Tamika, Sounds like we are writing twins. I'm honored.

    Cindy, I've picked up the Hundred Acre Wood in your writing. What a great gift idea!

    T.Anne, Would that be an aerial map? It makes me dizzy to think of all He sees. Only He could scope it out with integrity (and no dizziness). I can very much see you as a climate map.

    Jessica, I think that truly would make a great combo. That's why I love my blogging friends so much. We all have unique gifts and strengths.

    Terri, Me too. It's my favorite part of the expedition.

    Jody, And look how far you've gotten! X marks the spot has proven trustworthy for you.

    Bina, Nice combo. Making me think. Yes, very cool.

    Heather, I'd like one of those too. Might be nice if God could place those at different places in our lives. Moving around a ton sure adds to the confusion of that one. :D

    Gwen, Thanks. Your writing is so strong on your blog, it baffles me to think you needed to debate. Where's Waldo is one of the reasons I write.

    May God bless you richly all week long.

    Thanks for entertaining me once again with your answers. It's always nice to know I'm not alone on this journey even though some of us are on different paths, following different directions. I hope we all cross paths on the way. You've blessed my life thus far. I'd love for that to continue.

    Going to give a child medicine.

    I pray you sleep with a grateful heart and a calm spirit.
    ~ Wendy

  18. Wendy, I think I'm a Where's Waldo on the Climate Map?? Great ideas, how do you keep'em coming? :)

  19. Oh, this is toughie! I guess I'm a little mixture of X-marks the spot and Hundred Acre Woods...and possibly topographic.

    You have the most creative posts, Wendy! I'd love to climb inside your mind and sit and rest awhile. I think it would be facinating!

  20. Oh, great descriptions, great choices! I am Where's Waldo plus Topographic but I'm trying to throw more Climate map into the mix. It's hard to keep all this in mind AND write a fascinating story!


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