Maps. If one is writing epic fantasy in a world hitherto unknown, it behooves one to have a clear idea of what is where. I tried pantsing my current WIP (Work-In-Proggress) without a map, and got confused as to who was where, when. Now some authors can do this. But many published authors I know use modern day maps in urban fantasy. Some can do the whole thing in their heads. I, unfortunately am not one of those. I need a concrete view of what is where in my world, because I get lost. Yup, I am challenged both in direction and temporal issues both in writing and the ‘real world’. So I made a map. It is not the best, but I have an artist-friend who is going to clean it up for me. But now I have absolute values for what is where.
If you are writing, and have not a clear idea, or find your beta-readers are confused, map it. Even in a house, make floor plans. I find it cements the geography and world more clearly in my mind. And that can lead to revelations of plot and society and character you might have been unaware of…later.
Next….to plot-line or not to plot-line? That is the question.