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Story Mapping Workshop

I gave a talk for the Long Island Romance Writers yesterday on story mapping, how to explore your fictional world. It was great to see so many people come out for the talk! Here is the handout from the workshop — I think it makes a handy list of resources:


1/15/11 LIRW presentation at Barnes and Noble, Huntington, NY


Source: Orson Scott Card, Characters and Viewpoint, p. 48

1.      MILIEU: The milieu is the world surrounding the characters – the landscape, interior spaces, the surrounding cultures the characters emerge from and react to; everything from weather to traffic laws.

Julie Leto —

2.      IDEA:The idea is the information that the reader is meant to discover or learn during the process of the story.

Holly Lisle –

3.      CHARACTER: Character is the nature of one or more of the people in the story – what they do and why they do it.  It usually leads to or arises from a conclusion about human nature in general

Jim Butcher

Holly Lisle

Donald Maass

4.      EVENT: The events of the story are everything that happens and why.

Randy Ingermanson:

Blake Snyder Beat Sheet:

5.      GENRE: This is not one of Orson Scott Card’s story quotients.  But I think it is very important to know what kind of story you are going to tell in the world you are discovering – think of it as the weather of your story world.


  1. Tez Miller says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us at home – I plan to check out those links soon :-)

    • admin says:

      Cool…glad it’s helpful. I’ll be writing some follow up articles about this topic as a result of this workshop. Will let you know when they go live!

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