Aha! I knew there were subjects I forgot. I imagine this series will continue and expand for years to come. I actually remembered floor plans when talking with Mary about some other aspects of world building and it hit me like a freight train. It was painful. XD
I also want to post a quick reminder that my novel Dragon Bloode: Covet is going to be released on June 17th on Smashwords, Amazon, and most ebook retailers. For a free copy from Smashwords, use coupon code ZT57S. I also was sure to post some excerpts from the book for your entertainment. Well, I hope entertainment. Anyway, moving on!
Just as you would use maps to keep track of location and for the sake of consistency, floor plans serve the same purpose on a smaller scale. You don’t want to say a door is across from the couch in chapter 1 and that same door magically moves to next to the couch in chapter 7. You don’t need to go into the same detail that an architect would, but the more the better. It’s very beneficial to have floor plans before you even begin writing, as you can determine the most organic ways your characters would move about and interact with items in the room.
#1 Start With Your Settings
Write down all of the settings in your book including the ones outside. You can map out the layout of an estate as much as you can a bedroom. Go down your list. Stop at each place and think of it in your mind. Think of the scene that takes place in the setting. Is it really the way the furniture would be? Is there a window there? Can’t have natural sunlight in a room without windows. Think of each place and make notes on any important features or those that are mentioned directly in your story.
#2 Study Real Floor Plans
As mentioned above, these don’t have to be professional grade schematics. That being said, it’s still a good idea to look at real ones. Above, I have a random floor plan I pulled off from google image search, but you can still tell it’s professionally done compared to any that I have. Also, keep in mind engineering. There are still laws of physics, even in fictional lands. Now, of course, there’s always the option of explaining away an impossible engineering feat with magic or with some other (un)natural intervention. If your story is a sci-fi that takes place on a ship in the outer rings of Saturn, you’ll definitely need a floor plan. Ships don’t waste any space! Another aspect that can greatly influence your structures is culture. Look at the different wonders of the world as an example. Is your culture grandiose? Wealthy? Wanting to show their power? Look to European cathedrals or pyramids of Egypt!
#3 Rough Sketch
Whether you want to approach all of these at once, or do a room at a time from start to finish, is entirely up to you. I have made all of my floor plans for my current story, so I’ll make a fake one for this blog post (who knows, maybe I’ll use it later). I’m going to do a teenager’s bedroom to keep it small. First, determine the size of the room you’re doing. Is it a cavernous throne room? A kid’s room? A workplace? Then think of the shape. Is it circular? A square? Rectangle? Remember, rough sketches are easy to change! Play with the shapes and sizes if you’re not sure.
As you’ll see, I also made a note for a unit of measurement. That is a big room! Next, determine where your windows and doors will be. Use simple lines perpendicular to the wall to mark windows, and a line swinging outward or inward for a door.
I added a door, three windows, and a closet door. Pretty basic!
All right! I’ve added a desk with a chair in the corner, three bookshelves (apparently this fictional person takes after me), a bed, a nightstand, a beanbag chair in the corner, and shelving in her closet. That’s moderately detailed! I guess she sleeps in a king sized bed, look at that compared to the 20 feet! Scale is another detail to look out for. You can’t have a 20 foot bed next to a five foot desk, but as it stands in a rough sketch scale is fine. You get the main idea.
From this point on, the floor plan is usable. You can go in and color everything and add as much detail as you like or clean it up in a graphics program and print it off for your binder. Another thing to mention might be to add the timeline to it. Does the room change as this person gets older?
#5 Quick Outdoor Rough Sketch
Suuuuuuuper rough, but you get the idea.
Remember, if you do both outside and inside floor plans you must have the building shapes be consistent. If you have a manor house that is rectangular outside but an oval when inside, that wouldn’t work.
Don’t forget landscaping! It might not seem important, until you have a character using it for cover or to hide your villain after they’ve committed a horrible crime.
In addition to floor plans themselves, don’t neglect writing in details such as what the buildings and surfaces are made of. Are there marble floors? Carpeting? Consistency!
Mark the directions of north, south, east, and west on your floor plans. If your window faces north, your character can’t watch the setting sun.
If you find yourself intimidated by so much detail, ripple outward. Start with the room and go from there. Design outward and build on.
It might seem obvious, but be sure to clearly label each floor plan. Also, if you do a building with several floors, remember to label which level you’re on. Remember, on higher levels, you need support for your structures. That means columns, load bearing walls, etc.
If you have verandas or balconies without a supportive structure beneath them, they will over time have a lean. Floors without a good foundation will sink in.
Until Next Time
I’m sure I’ll think of thirty things I forgot to add, that’s always the case. However, this should be enough to get you started. I don’t have anymore world building ideas for now, but hey, you never know. Either way, see you next week!
More From Mishka’s World Building Series
World Building Part 1: Basics
World Building Part 2: Religion
World Building Part 3: Nation Creation
World Building Part 4: Government
World Building Part 5: Calendar
World Building Part 6: Map Making
World Building Part 7: Culture
Added 10/24/2016 World Building Part 9: Creatures
Added 11/21/2016 World Building Part 10: Science!
Added 12/12/2016 World Building Part 11: Medicine
Added 01/09/2016 World Building Part 12: Names