Posts Tagged ‘twin peaks’


Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

map of the story

“When I first decided I wanted to be a writer, when I was 10, 11 years old, the books that I loved…came with maps and glossaries and timelines—books like Lord Of The Rings, Dune, The Chronicles Of Narnia. I imagined that’s what being a writer was: You invented a world, and you did it in a very detailed way, and you told stories that were set in that world.”—Michael Chabon, Interview with the AV Club

My undergrad thesis argued that world-building wasn’t just for fantasy and sci-fi writers—every tale has a setting, every tale creates a world in the reader’s mind—and it explored ways that drawing that world (visual thinking!) can lead to better fiction.

Some of my favorite “lit’ry” books are accompanied by maps.

A recent read, Donald Ray Pollock‘s short-story collection, Knockemstiff, is set in the “real” town of Knockemstiff, right outside of Chillicothe, Ohio (30 miles from where I grew up—if you keep heading north on 23 you’ll get to Circleville). The book includes a nice hand-pencilled map by artist David Cain:

map from donald ray pollock's KOCKEMSTILL

Lynda Barry’s Cruddy contains four maps. Here’s two of them:

map from lynda barry's CRUDDY

And while it was a TV show and not a book, one of my favorite fictional worlds, Twin Peaks, was drawn by David Lynch for the pitch meeting:


Some writers use previously-made maps to help create their fiction: Melville used whaling charts, Joyce used Ordnance surveys of Dublin, and Pynchon used aerial maps.

Poking around the ‘net I found maps for Faulkner’s books, Treasure Island, and of course, Tolkien.

What other favorite books of yours include maps? Let’s get a big ol’ list going in the comments!


Tuesday, January 29th, 2008


From Nigel Holmes’ out-of-print Pictorial Maps:

Before showing the pilot script of his revolutionary show Twin Peaks to executives at ABC television, director David Lynch drew a map to give them an idea of where the action would unfold. The peaks of the title, and the town they name, are clearly visible as white-topped mountains rising out of the modeled landscape. By creating a sense of place, Lynch made the town all the more believable. A straightforward map would have been dull by comparison and might have suggested that there was something intrinsically interesting avout the geography of the place. What was much more important to convey was the mood of the story, and it’s nicely captured in Lynch’s quirky drawing. Not many maps in this book attempt to convey both a mood and data, but it can be done, and Lynch’s map shows that information can be imbued with emotion and retain its factual authority.

And more from Lynch:

We knew where everything was, and it helped us decide what mood each place had, and what could happen there. Then the characters just introduced themselves to us and walked into the story.

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