Digging in the Dirt

Tunnels.  I be digging tunnels.

While working on my story yesterday, I remembered the tunnels that are all under the school I created.  In the story one of these is mentioned as a scene takes place there–a semi-argument between three instructors that will eventually lead to a climax within the next chapter I’m writing.

I’ve a layout of my environment.  I’ve even looked at the area in some detail on Google Maps (the school is really there, but you can’t see it, ’cause . . .), so when I write about a building on the grounds, I see it in my mind because I’ve placed it on a physical spot on a map.  Call it a visualization trick learned from years of gaming–or from having someone tell me, “I gotta see the inside of this tower to know it!” which lend me to start drawing–but it’s a trick that helps a hell of a lot.

However, the area is subject to seasonal changes in weather.  It’s hot in the summer, wet in the spring and fall, and snowy during the winter.  It’s also right on the ocean, so you have the occasional storm blowing in from the Atlantic.  Hence, the tunnels.  ‘Cause if you want to get around in the worst weather, go underground.

But the tunnels are good for other things beside walking from class to class when the weather sucks, and you don’t feel like getting drenched because the building where your next class is held is a half-mile away.  There are plenty of things to discover in the tunnels:  passages that seem to lead nowhere; passages that are restricted; unused and hidden rooms . . . oh, there’s plenty of things down below the ground beside people going from here to there.  Most of which will pop up in the next story . . .

What was bugging me yesterday, though, was not having a layout for those tunnels.  I wanted to see them.  I wanted to know how the kids and instructors made their way around in the basement world.  And, for an upcoming chapter, I had to chase someone in a large basement, and figure out how another person was able to make it from where they were first caught doing bad thing, to where they were going to have their final confrontation.

Ergo, tunnel maps.  You gotta have them.  Well, I do.

Now, many hours later, I have everything I need.  I see every building linked together.  I see which building have underground storage, and of those, which have a lot of underground space.  I see the spaces that will get used when I get to my novel in November.

This morning I had a short chat with someone who follows me.  One of the things they said was they were amazed by the architectural detail I put into my stories.  I’ve done this before for other stories, yeah, but never to the level I’ve done for this story.  For this story it’s as if I’ve had a Muse nagging me to get all the little details right, and even if those details aren’t seen, I need them, because the story needs them.

As usual, my Muse is right.

She’ll be the first to tell you that, too.