If you've ever considered getting your MFA in Writing for Children, you can see my summaries of the summer activities which start on July 11th (click here) and go on for a full nine posts to end on July 25th. From those posts, you'll get a good idea about the level of conversation, the intelligence and good cheer that are in full view during the residencies! I'm very proud to be on the faculty there. This semester, I won't be summarizing events (though I think Cynthia Leitich Smith will have a "quotable moment" each day over at Cynsations - oh, I see Cyn has already begun her VCFA posts!) I will be posting a bit about my own lecture - mostly visuals of the maps I'm going to use to illustrate my points in my lecture topic: GETTING THE WORLD RIGHT: MAPPING THE FICTIVE DREAM.
As a preview, here's a map of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. He made his original (this is a copy he made because his publisher lost the original) before he ever wrote one word of his novel.
This is my premise: That by mapping your fictional world, you can waken your imagination, deepen your characters, affect plot....a "sense of place" is not peripheral but central to fiction.