Visualizing your World (Strategies for Story Design)

Visualizing your World using Sketches and Drawings to help create your Self-Published Story!

Hi everyone,

It’s almost the beginning of summer break, and I am totally ready to go! Buckling down and working on the novel & novellas this summer is going to be one tricky component. Now that I have two books out, I feel even more inspiration to keep writing.

One thing I wasn’t expecting was other people to think me an expert on writing! I got an email (to my school account, no less!) from one of my former students. This child is 10 years old, and already writing his own book about the Vikings. He sent me a good twenty pages or so of typed story. Now, as you might expect, it was full of your standard typos and inconsistencies. So what did I tell him to do?

I told him to sketch out his story.

I’m not an amazing illustrator, but I am a very visual person. I can write something much better if I doodle or sketch it out beforehand. Think about all the benefits that creating a visual plan or representation of your story can bring!

IMG_0033IMG_0032First, it can bring perspective. Writing is all about being able to accurately describe what is happening to your readers. Many of our favorite writers are able to write about and build their worlds with beautiful prose and writing. However, it helps to have a blueprint, so-to-speak.

Second, you can create additional parts of the story – for example, as you’ll notice from these sketch I’ve created for Antioch Burns, that there is a battle in the story. In the past, I’ve written primarily from the point of someone in the thick of battle. But drawing this picture helped me to rearrange my plan and adjust what I was going to do.

IMG_0034Finally, doodling or sketching can help you sequence and organize events in the story. I know some writer buddies of mine who draw an illustration for every chapter. It’s easy to rearrange if you discover the story has a week point or doesn’t make sense in the current order.

Hope that helps you all! I know doodling helps me (It’s also good to pass time when you are bored in staff meetings!) P.S. Don’t forget to check out Brass Legionnaire and Copper Centurion. Just got some great new reviews! (5 and 4 star!) There’s even one from France (on

Enjoy! Ciao!

Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

%d bloggers like this: