Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Keeping Track Of My Town...

Hi!  Winnie Griggs here.  Today I thought I'd give you a little peek at some of the behind the scenes things we writers do (or at least THIS writer) to keep things straight when we're writing connected stories.
This month, the third book in my Texas Grooms series, A Family For Christmas, hit the shelves.   This series will eventually contain four books, all set  in the fictional town of Turnabout, Texas.  It follows the lives of four men who left Pennsylvania together to travel to Texas and build new lives for themselves.  They are four VERY different men and I’m having a whole lot of fun telling their stories.  I’ve already turned in the fourth and final book, which will release next June under the title Lone Star Heiress.

Early on in my work with this series I realized how important it was going to be for me to keep up with the details from book to book.  One thing I've done, which I do for just about every book I write, is set up a file to document the myriad secondary characters who pop up in any of the books, no matter how minor a role they play.  You just never know when one of these characters will need to make a return appearance and it sure saves having to go back and find out who runs the mercantile, what the preacher’s wife is called, who is the telegrapher, etc. 

However, this time around I realized I’d need reminders of a different sort.  I found myself losing track of where the different residences and businesses were in relation to each other.  So I finally bit the bullet and drew up a town map.  I had to dig into the first two books to get things laid out properly, and I found one or two inconsistencies that I had to take care of in the copy edit stage of the second book, but for the last two books I had it down on paper as a handy-dandy reference to guide me.  It’s not fancy and it’s by no means drawn to scale, but it helps me keep the relative positions of everything straight.

Here is a small version of what the map looks like.



If you’re interested in taking a peek at a larger copy, you can find it at this link:  http://www.winniegriggs.com/Turnabout.html

So, as a reader, do you pay attention to these kinds of details, do you notice if buildings in a town, rooms in a house, etc aren't consistently placed?  Or is that just minor background detail that you don't even notice?

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And in celebration of this being release month, I'm going to give one person who comments on today's post a copy of A Family For Christmas

An Unexpected Gift 
Eve Pickering knows what it's like to be judged for your past. So she's not about to leave the orphaned boy she's befriended alone in this unfamiliar Texas town. Since Chance Dawson's offer of shelter is the only way to look after Leo, Eve is determined they'll have a warm, welcoming home for the holidays.

Chance came from the big city to make it on his own despite a painful secret. But Eve's strength is giving him a confidence he never expected—and a new direction for his dream. With a little Christmas blessing, he'll dare to win her heart—and make their family one for a lifetime.

34 comments:

Christine Johnson said...

Winnie, what a cool map! What program do you use? I've been hand-drawing my maps. Yours is much clearer and can be shared with readers.

As a reader, I don't pay a lot of attention to where buildings are placed, but if the preacher's wife changes names, I start concocting possible reasons why...

Carolyn Greene said...

Winnie, I'm geographically challenged, so this could help a lot. Do you also diagram the rooms inside your characters' houses?

Renee Ryan said...

Winnie, what a smart thing to do. I think Cheryl St. John does the same thing for her books. Me? I'm not so clever. I end up with the scale completely off. Your books sounds fabulous. I just bought it Walmart yesterday. It's at the top of my TBR pile.

Janet Lee Barton said...

I love your map, Winnie! I have done this with series, too--it' can be very easy to get mixed up if you don't have a clear idea of where things are. :) Right now I need to make me a neighborhood map of an area of NYC, showing where some of my characters live now that they've married and moved out of Heaton House. Other characters visit them from time to time. This was a great reminder for me to do that! Thanks so much!

Jenny Blake said...

as a reader yes and no. If I am reading the series all at the same time I notice more if the wife's name changed or the business owner changed etc. The locations not as much although if it was mentioned with an address that seemed important and the next book it was different possibly if Im reading as a series. If there is a time gap between books then I dont remember those details as much. If its a series and an animal or child is mentioned a fair bit in the books and then is not I may notice like Cheryl Wyatts first series the cat was psych and he was mentioned in most books. I was looking for him in the books as he has his own personality and was important in his own way

by the way love the map and the way you have it laid out.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Christine, I used visio to create this one. And LOL on the preacher's wife's name changing!

Carolyn, If the layout of the house is important, then yes I'll lay it out. But if I only use a couple of rooms or if the story mostly takes place outdoors, then no I don't.

Winnie Griggs said...

Renee - thanks for picking up my book! Yours is also on my TBR pile (LOVE your cover!) - got it through the book club, and I can't wait to dig into it.

Heidi said...

I notice the details about characters and their lives, not so much with the setting- unless there is an obvious discrepancy. Can't wait to read your new book!
colorvibrant[at]gmail[dot]com

Winnie Griggs said...

Janet, glad you liked the map!

Hi Jenny. The things I'm trying to keep straight in my head is if in one book I said the livery was five block from the hotel, I need to make certain it's the same distance in the next one. Those things can drive me crazy if I have to go back and try to dig them out from the book itself

Merrillee said...

Cool map! As a reader, I don't notice details from book to book, but as a writer, I want to get them right. Thanks for showing us how you do it, Winnie.

Jenny Blake said...

Winnie i understand I have friends who remember all details of a book. They could even do detailed picture of the hero or hero for the police dept if needed. Me well I would really struggle I often dont remember eye colour, hair colour unless its mention several times in a book. I dod know the last book the heroine I think had dark hair but not much else. Oh and the hero was taller over 6 feet but I cant tell you much more than that.
The book I started he has fair hair and blue eyes cos shes mentioned several times his little brother is the spitting image with those fair features and vibrant blue eyes. As to what she looks like Um un amish like.

Jackie Smith said...

Love the map...and the cover on your new book! Am so ready to begin reading Christmas stories so please enter me for yours!

jacsmi75 [at]gmail [dot]com

Winnie Griggs said...

Heidi - thanks for stopping by, and for your interest in my book!

Merrillee - you're welcome! I know we all handle the problems/issues differently

Winnie Griggs said...

Jenny - LOL, I'm like you when I'm reading someone else's work, I key more on the emotional than the physical. I picture the characters in my head, but it's not necessarily based on the description in the book

Winnie Griggs said...

Jackie - glad you enjoyed the map and the post - you're name is in the hat along with everyone else's!

Scraproni Adventures of Single Woman said...

I pay more attention to the dialogue and the community aspect of books. And am loving the texas groom series and can't wait for book four.

Winnie Griggs said...

Scraproni - Thanks so much for that! Book 4 will be out in June and is titled Lone Star Heiress.

Winnie Griggs said...

Sorry I'm late getting this posted - had a VERY hectic day today! But I put the names in a hat and drew out a winner and it is SCRAPRONI!! Congratulations - If you'll contact me via my website with your mailing info I'll get your book right on out to you.

And for those of you whose names I didn't pull this go round - I'll be doing several more giveaways this month. To keep up with the where and when, connect with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WinnieGriggs.Author

Aamir Ahmed said...

Jennie - The Crafty Wife
Boz Towers, Essex, United Kingdom
I'm a Red Hat Society member with a love of crafting of all sorts.

Aamir Ahmed said...

I've been pretty slack this year with my blogging haven't I. This kind of is an example of how slow things are on the blogging front, Isla's birthday was last month, end of last month, but still last month. I have so many things I want to share but they just don't quite make it here.

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