Throughout the writing of my Bunch Courtney Investigations series, set in the imaginary Sussex village of Wyncombe, I have always had a reasonably clear vision of what and where the various parts of my village are.
This week while writing Book 5 – A Deadly Plot, however, I found myself rootling through back stories to check on various points mentioned in Book One – Winter Downs. Where, I asked myself, did I say the village pharmacy was in relation to the village hall? And for the life of me I could not remember.
It was high time I sketched out a rough plan for future reference. Easy, you might think, except that I still had to skim through all of the books in the series to see how I have described various portions of Wyncombe.
Now Wyncombe is fictitious so in theory none of this should not matter, and so far as the various plots go its seldom that precise locations hold any importance.
Is this a piece of world-class prevarication? Possibly.
Am I a little weird to go there at all? Probably.
On the other hand I do know there are readers who notice these things. Plus I am sufficiently OCD to be unable to move on until I have it clear in my own mind. I need to know!
I began by scanning in a section of map that roughly matched and spent an age in Photoshop taking out all of the detail that I didn’t need. Then a few hours using ‘Find’ function on the Word versions of each of the old manuscripts for those relevant references.
Two days on I have produced a somewhat untidy (dyspraxia is a curse) but decipherable map noting all points of reference, with a few more locations that I have yet to mention but doubtless will at some point soon. Sound like a lot of effort for very little? Perhaps, but it makes me happy!
This is most likely the only time the map will be out there – by that I mean its unlikely to make it into the books themselves. Apart from anything else I suspect it will be changed over time.
The eagle-eyed among you will spot that Bunch Courtney’s home, Perringham House, is not included, and that is because it the farm and estate are a mile or two outside of the village, and yes I also need to have that information at my finger tips.
Yes, I kept notes of road, field titles and woodland names as I went along, but the task of fitting them together in any sort of coherent order is something for another day.
My brain was exploding just trying to decipher this small corner!