Monday, June 08, 2009

Following a Road Map

A map isn't just for traveling - it can prevent your novel from becoming lost in inaccuracies.

Authors possess so many resources outside of a physical map. We can go to Map Quest to check the actual driving time between two points. Almost every point of interest boasts a website, full of information. Many famous destinations or routes are featured in books.

One of my favorite resources is Google Earth. Millions of satellite images have been pieced together to form a giant map of the world. One can zoom in on a particular city, right down to a city block or street corner. (Try this with your place of residence - it's almost eerie to see one's house from above!) Sections are updated every six to twelve months, so it's pretty accurate. Certain business categories can be pin-pointed on the map as well.

A good example of Google Earth use resides in a scene in Book II of my YA series. One of my characters walked from a restaurant back to Georgia Tech's campus. I used Google Earth to select the exact location of that restaurant, determine what street the character would take, and at what point would they pass a gas station near campus. I was able to provide accuracy with my directions and street names.

Have you ever used Google Earth in this manner?


  1. I've used Google Earth for personal reasons before but never thought of applying it toward the scenes I write. Makes such good sense. Thanks for the idea.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  2. I haven't used Google Earth, except to look at my own house and to try to find my daughter's house. ;-O

    But you have an excellent idea for book use!

    Straight From Hel

  3. AnonymousJune 08, 2009

    No I haven't - thanks for the tip - sounds like a great googly thingy to use. :)

    The Old Silly From Free Spirit Blog

  4. Great tip. I used Google Earth in my last manuscript when I wanted my characters to find a computer store. It really worked.

  5. At first I thought you were going to suggest out outline. 'Oh, no, no, no, no, no!" my little literary heart as calling out. I like to let my characters lead me where they will.

    But a Google map. Even if you've been to Athens, you must know when to turn tna the names of the side streets and we must get it right.

    Thank you, Diane.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging at Writer's Diegest 101 Best Websites pick,