Sometimes, it’s well worth taking a tip from a writer of another genre.
Just recently, I’ve been struggling to get my bearings in a building that features in a couple of scenes in my new novel. A friend, who is currently in the middle of writing a fantasy series, told me that he’s spending a lot of time designing maps for his world, so he’s got everything planned out – with the number of characters, battles and interplay going on, it’s the only way he can keep track.
Rather than spend another evening struggling through the two scenes I was writing (along the lines of, ‘if he’s climbing the stairs, can he see the guy with the gun behind thatdoor…?’), I pushed the laptop to one side, grabbed a piece of A4 paper and hey presto – three storey Georgian-style house in London mapped out floor by floor.
Now, where did I leave that assassin…?