Writing maps

A reader of Playa Perdida said that she liked to find maps in the novels she went through–and that jogged a memory…. Early on as I was writing that book, I decided that a map would keep me straight, so I sketched a layout of the beach community where Playa was set and tucked it into the file folder that held my notes. When I’d sit at my desk to work on the novel, I’d take that map out and refer to it. It reminded me of where the characters were, where they were going; it kept me from putting them into the sea when they should have been at a cafe.

When it came to printing the book, though, I never even considered including that map in the finished book. But maybe I should have….

In high school, I took geography classes every year (it was a British school–my friends in US high schools at the time thought my class load odd). A big part of that was reading and copying maps, which I found to be great fun. Now I’m wondering about including versions of the maps I use in future books.

Which raises some questions: Obviously, this has been done–but has it been overdone? Too infrequent? What are the benefits? Liabilities? In these days of reading books on phones, is a map even possible for such devices?

If you’re a writer, have you had experience with this? What sort of maps do you make for your books?

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