A Novel in Pictures

The knitting is underway. That is to say, the mysterious little cobblers who work on my novel at night while I sleep, those hardworking minions of the subconscious, are finding all kinds of lovely connections between sections of the book that surprise and delight my daytime self.

While they’re busy constructing a – brace yourself for a completely gratuitous foreign word, now – Gesamtkunstwerk (I warned you!), I find myself in need of some kind of visualization of how everything fits together. The where, when, what of characters, timelines, locations, etc. A picture to contain that symphonic whole I dreamed of, lo those many moons ago. (Okay so it was only two years, but that’s at least a decade in internet time.)

How A Beautiful Mind does interior design

Initially I wanted a crazy collage. You know, the kind made of years’ worth of yellowed newspaper clippings and cash register receipts all connected by chewed gum, yarn and post-its? That way I could invite a friend over and be all, “come up to my room, I want you to see something,” and they’re all, “cool, I love seeing things,” and then I open the door all casual-like and watch the look of horror on their face as they realize I’m a complete and total nutter. How awesome would that be? And honest too, because I actually am a complete and total nutter?!

But in the end, laziness won out – seriously, how long do you think it took a set design intern to assemble the doozy above, two days? Three? – and instead I just drew a grid. In the interests of spoiler protection, this picture was taken only mid-map. And don’t bother trying to enlarge it. If you wanna know how the book ends, you’ll have to download a free copy off Pirate Bay like everyone else, friend.

The whiteboard was a birthday present from a very talented ex when I first started writing the book three years ago. It’s mostly collected dust since then, making me feel guilt, heartache and shame on multiple levels every time I looked at it, so it feels good to finally put it to use. That same birthday he also gave me a copy of the hilarious Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir, with the inscription, “if he can do it, you can too!” I’m almost there, by god, I’m almost there. (Reminder to me self: I think Me Write Book would make a fine subtitle.)


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