Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Writing Things: How Drawing House Maps Can Help Your Writing

Super long title, I know. Sorry. XD
Also, I'm not supposed to be posting until the end of this week, but I had an inspiration surge, so here we go.

You know at the beginning of some books, there are maps of the particular world, or area in the world.

These are really helpful with introducing one to the book's geography and if the book is centered around a fictional world, or a real world place.

They're kinda like road maps, but for a story.

I love drawing these maps for different stories of mine.

But sometimes, I need to zoom in a little bit. Especially if a good part of my story takes place in a certain house or area.

Me, being the forgetful self that I am, needs to remember that this room goes here, and that room goes there.

So, I sometimes draw out my house interiors, which is very helpful, and I shall list out why:

  • It sets boundaries. If you draw your area with a certain set of rooms, you can only use those rooms for your characters to be in. Of course you can add on, but if you draw it out, it will help you from creating one room after another for you to keep track of. 
  • It expands creativity. You can add whatever you want. Balconies, levels. stairs, a garden inside. Whatever. Really. 
  • Keeps things from getting out of control. Unless the area you want to map is an abyss of eternal rooms, you might want to confine your characters to a set amount of rooms. 
  • You can label stuff. I know this doesn't seem like much, but if you need to remember what rooms do what (laundry room, dining room, bathroom, porch) and if they have certain affiliations with them (as in, "this is the room where he sees the assassin for the first time" thing) 
  • It's just plain fun! 
  • And also, welding a pencil or pen on a sheet of paper is good for the brain. :P 

And even though it is of little consequence, if you share your story with a group of people, they might imagine your story settings a little differently than you imagine them. 

^^^^^^^This is the outline I have for Thorin and Dis's house in the Blue Mountains. 

When my sister saw it, she said in essence, "That's not how I imagined it." 

Of course, it's fine if your readers imagine settings differently than you do, but if your characters spend a good amount of time in one place, it might be helpful to outline it for them. 

If however, I was going to publish a book, I wouldn't ever put a blueprint of every house my characters went into into the book. That would just be silly, not to mention time consuming. 

And, if you are a forgetful being like I am, it's just fun to just outline a bunch of houses to remember which rooms go where. 

If none of you are the outlining freaks like I am, don't do it. It's just a fun thing that I like to do. :D 

If you want to draw a house map, here are a few tips I would give to you: 

  • Don't draw furniture unless you are really detail oriented, and the space is smaller. Just keep to labeling the rooms. 
  • Don't draw people in the rooms. 

  • Do differentiate between windows and doors. I usually do doors as two straight lines, and windows as angles facing out. 
  • Draw levels either on different pieces of paper, or on the same paper, but on a different section. If you want to overlay, it helps if you shade the area overlapping. 
  • Label important things. If there is a trap door somewhere, label the door. 

And that's it! Thanks for reading everyone! Sorry this was so random. XP 

If you all have drawn maps before, or have some advice to give, I would love to hear about it! Tell me in the comments, and I shall respond as quickly as possible. :D 

Have an amazing rest of the week! -Saphira 

just imagine outlining this. 0.0 


  1. I draw maps and blueprints of my houses/buildings/castles all the time and it really does help:)

    1. Doesn't it! I'm glad you do, they are so fun to draw. ^.^

  2. Replies
    1. I'm glad you found it helpful, thanks for reading! :D

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I outline, draw maps, and plan everything out. You're right, it really does help:) I'm still struggling with drawing out landscapes, though. I'm writing a novel set back in the 1860's and of course the town itself is completely made up. But when it comes to figuring out how far point A is from point B, I'm still struggling with distance. Any ideas or tips? Again, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for commenting! Your novel sounds amazing, I love that era. :D
      As with figuring out distances, I fix that problem by drawing on grid paper. Each square can represent a few miles, meters, or yards depending. It helps me by determining how far two towns are, or just the space between a door and a window. If you don't want to use grid paper, I would just put a key in the corner for saying like, "Six inches on the paper is a mile" or something like that.
      Hope that helped! If not, I'd be happy to try and help you out some more. Thanks for reading. :D

    2. Awesome! Thanks for getting back to me:) I haven't tried using grid paper, gonna give that a shot. Really appreciate you taking the time to help me out. God bless!

    3. Sure, anytime! Tell me how it goes if you ever map anything on grid. :D

  4. I go online and house shop and a lot of those homes have floor plans. So I pinterest the house and floor plan to refer back to as I write.

    1. Wow, I've never done that, but it sounds super helpful! Thanks for sharing. :D

  5. I loved doing this in my most recent project with the girls' school my characters attended. SO helpful for choreography throughout the book, where it was essential to know when the sun was coming through which windows and how characters would move between bedrooms and scriptoriums. I actually found a house to base it off of and then traced over the floor plan to create the layout I needed... partially because my brain is terrible at scale.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. It is surprisingly helpful. ^.^ I'm glad you think the same as I do, I'm so very detail orientated. Finding houses to base things off of is very helpful too!
      No problem, thanks for commenting! :D

  6. As a practicing Architect and aspiring author I admire this practice.
    Thanks for sharing this with your readers.

    Collier Ward,

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read! I glad you thought it could be useful. As an aspiring architect and author myself, I'm glad you dropped by. :D

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