Monday Personal Log

MPL 9: Drawing Maps in My Head

flashcardI think in pictures. Sure, you say, so do you, right? Well, I haven’t ever met anyone quite like me, which is understandable considering the variety and wonder of life on this planet. For me, it’s like having a flashcard with a picture for every word you have ever learned and ordering those flashcards in order to create sentences that have meaning. Every word out of my mouth is accompanied by a flash of a picture in my head. Some of those flashcards have other flashcards associated with them (think a word association game). Sometimes, those associations are not always apparent. Sometimes, the pictures on the flashcard have nothing to do with the meaning of the word itself.  For example, the word Flabberghasted in my head brings up a picture of a boy in my high school drama class named Jason. Why? Because Jason once told me it was his favorite word. Whatever the picture for that word was before that conversation with Jason, it was permanently replaced by his face.

So why am I even talking about this. Well, because this has been a supremely useful earning tool for me. In college, I would take notes so that I didn’t have to ever look at them again. The information on the note page was associated with the picture of the page in my head. I didn’t need to look at it again because the neural pathways to the information started with the picture of the page it was on. As for my writing, this tool has become indispensable to me. I never used it on purpose for creative writing, but when I started writing Kissing Demons, it became a tool I honed into a skill. I tell other writers that I don’t use outlives, but the truth is, I just don’t have to write them down.

I form a picture in my head of where my book begins, and then I form a new picture for each new scene and I map the outline in picture in my head. For Falling Angels, I did this several years ago, when I first started writing it, but I lost that copy of FA and I didn’t pick it up again until late last year. The map of the story was in my head from the first draft, and I thought it was enough, but it hasn’t been.

So, today I am meditating. I am forming pictures and re-outlining my story. I know how it ends, but I have to get there and I need to remap Ambrose’s journey. I like doing this, but it takes time and practice. Once I’m done, my story–my book–will be ready to be finished. I said I would get it out in June, and I fully expect to stick to that deadline. I even have an editor lined up thanks to Veronica Del Rosa.


I finally decided on a name for my Dragonswan short: Long for Freedom. It will be the prequel to a full length PNR novel called Long for Justice (Margaret and VanCamp). The next two novels in the series will be Long for Peace (Maggie and I haven’t figured out a name yet) and Long for Love (Gretchen and Long).


I have two really lovely reviews this weekend from Julie Nicholls and Adri Sinclair. Find them here and here.


8 thoughts on “MPL 9: Drawing Maps in My Head

  1. Love love hearing how other people’s minds works.
    I have never used a plot, planner or outline either. I do think in pictures, but I don’t write in pictures. I write, as if watching a movie for the first time. I don’t have a remote, so I can’t go back, and I can’t go forward. I can only elaborate the dictation I’m taking down. LOL – meaning that most of the time? I don’t even know how the story will end, who the bad guy is, who the good guy is, or WHAT they are, or why they’re showing up. When I am done writing for that patch of time … I read it out loud for hubby, and that is when the pictures reform – can can compare the parts of the movie I saw and how it relates to the pictures I am forming – if it match, wonderful, if not – I’m buggered! I also don’t do rewrites to ‘fix’. A rewrite, means I start over. That is the ONLY time I get to watch the movie again – and no jokes, it is a different movie each time, so I have to be careful with rewrites or [as I recently discovered] I write the same novel four times over – each time different. [sigh].

    I love how you put things together though – and you are SO lucky to have the editor! It is marvellous when you can do that. As you well know, I cannot publish without one … I hope I’ll be able to find myself a good one again … right now I need to save up. I guess it might be time to start that marketing after all! hahahha xxx

    Thank you for the honorary mention today again Jen,it means a lot, and it always helps tons! xxx

    Now here’s a fun question: How much fun do you have with word association games? I can go for HOURS – really LOVE those [and enjoy how my mind takes strange picture trips at time.] So here’s a flashcard line for you.


    1. Dinner


      I once played word association and my friend said “foot” and I totally blanked out. I had nothing. Nothing at all. My mind could not come up with any follow-up picture for “foot” haha. We tried it several times, starting with a word and going a few rounds before she said “foot” and every time, I just went blank. Apparently “foot” is my Achilles heel 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on IamNoMan and commented:
    Jen Winters is as the blog indicates an Indie Writer. Her books and stories that I have read are guite good but in genres that are not my favorites. We each have are own preferences and you must read and make your own choices in this regard. Jen has an interesting way of developing her art which is what I wish to share with you today. Like Jen I think in pictures. Actually I view it more like dreaming in pictures but I believe it is the same thing. I create castles in the sky. They can be rotated manipulated viewed from different directions. Jen’s method seems more linear. Her belief that this creates neural pathways and a form of storage seems to be the case for me too. Interestingly enough the process that Jen describes and we both utilize was also Used by Nikola Tesla, the Electrical engineer, inventor and Entrepreneur. I also used these techniques as an Engineer. Whether it is a gift, a skill to be learned or just an odditie you must again decide for yourself. Regardless of these things Jen Winters is a writer to read and follow.


    1. This is a wonderful and unexpected delight to read! I didn’t know this was a process used by my favorite man in history! That is an awesome little tidbit to learn just now. I like your castle; that is an interesting way to use this thought process. I might see if I can do that too, lol. Though my way seems to work for me, I am always up for a challenging thought experience.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s