Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sketch Your Journey by Robert Lettrick

Every book is an exploratory journey. An author will bushwack the path and readers will follow, hopefully enjoying the scenery, characters and even the pitfalls they encounter along the way. For both the writer and the reader, a book is very much a cerebral trip, but to paraphrase Albus Dumbledore, just because it’s happening inside your head that doesn’t mean it’s not real.

When I travel to new places, I like to bring along a blank notebook. It's a great way to capture not just what I see, but also what I feel. The emotional connections that make the trip worthwhile. Why should the journey of writing a book be any different? 

Many famous children’s book authors found that sketching and scribbling helped them conceptualize and flesh out the worlds they were creating. For instance:

JK Rowling

Beatrix Potter

Lewis Carroll

Following their lead, I've written four novels and managed to fill several companion notebooks in the process. Like this one, for example. 

Sketching and jotting down ideas in notebooks can provide you with a deeper understanding of your characters and the worlds they inhabit. It can provide you with a blueprint to return to during the editing process, or inspiration should you decide to write a sequel. And you don't have to be a great artist because this can be for you and you alone. But if you like what you see, why not share sections with your followers via social media to enrich their reading experience? 

Sure, there are technological alternatives to a physical notebook, such as Word and Scrivner, but as an exercise, try taking pencil to paper to capture your journey in a more artistic, personal way. You may just love the result. 


  1. This is a fun idea for the early stages of writing when I'm still struggling with what the story is supposed to be about. I'm not that great an artist -- so I'm more likely to use webs than drawings.

    But one story idea revolves around a rambly house with many additions and walled off sections, and for the past couple days, I've been thinking about drawing it. What a coincidence that you posted this today!

  2. Robert, great stuff! I am creating a more detailed map for my fantasy world now but your post inspires me to also draw the characters out as well in detail and breakout individual settings...even drawing the inside of places. Loved seeing your drawings and drawings here by other authors too. Drawing a map also helps me when logistics in a story aren't working - I can "travel" the map to see if events make sense.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!