On November 24, 2007 I travelled to Belgium to attend an SCBWI workshop with Jack Gantos. For those of you who don’t know Jack Gantos, he wrote the Rotten Ralph picture books and the wonderfully funny and so-true-to-the-mark Joey Pigza novels about a young boy with ADHD.
Gantos has been an inveterate journaler since he was a child. A packrat too it seems because he claims to still have all his journals. He brought a few old volumes with him to share with us at that workshop. The insides were a combination of words and pictures. In the journal he shared, Gantos had drawn maps of the neighbourhood he was writing about. The drawing was simple but very useful. Houses were labeled with the names of the people who lived there and were surrounded by little diagrams to remind him of the interesting events that had happened in each one. He suggested that when we write, we do the same.
That struck me as a fine piece of advice. So, with multi-screens in front of me displaying detailed maps of the areas east of Toronto, I began to piece together the town of Scotch-Gully. Once I had that, I was able to draw a map for the isolated corner of Scotch-Gully where Alex, Norman and Randy live.
Here is a map showing Storey Lane, Old Man Wilkins’ section of land and Fourteen Mile Creek. Check the initials on the bottom; it’s from Norman Storey’s notebook.