Mapping Emotions, and Location as Character

How strongly are your emotions tied to places you know? Does thinking about the airport lead to frustration or elation? Do you automatically smile when you turn a corner that brings you closer to a favorite view? How much of what you feel bleeds into what you write, and how does where your writing take place influence the characters/perspective of your narrative?

I can feel my heart slow down and the corners of my mouth lift every time I look at this picture from last summer on Cape Cod.

I can feel my heart slow down and the corners of my mouth lift every time I look at this picture from last summer on Cape Cod.

And what would it look like if you made an emotional map that goes with your world-building? It might look like Stanford University’s “Mapping the Emotions of Victorian London” project. The New York Times has a great write up of it here. Or it might look like Toronto’s Poetry Map. Or maybe it looks like this:

Mapping Westeros onto Boston & Environs, by Michelle Forelle. Click for source.

Mapping Westeros onto Boston & Environs, by Michelle Forelle. Click for source.

(I’m having visions now of writing a character who treats their entire existence as if it’s lifted from other fictional sources. That could be fun.) Maybe it’s as simple as this, to help remember how your various characters are going to be likely to react in certain locations or under certain conditions: charactermaplotr As the weather’s been getting better and people’s spirits are rising, these are the kinds of things I’m thinking about, especially since I also recently moved and am learning a whole new set of favorite haunts.  What are your thoughts on the impact of place on your writing?

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