I am a hobby writer and many other activities and commitments in my life tend to stifle writing time. In the last two weeks I have had the death of a close friend, another friend have an operation on a brain tumor, and a third have a serious bike accident. This left me picking up total responsibility for the Queensland Junior Orienteering squad training camp starting tomorrow, including preparing exercises and printing maps. The days are too short! So time for this blog is very limited.
Maps use a cartographic language that provides a symbolic representation of landscape. At camp we will be teaching the young orienteers to visualize the landscape from the map. Then they can make sensible navigation decisions in areas where the have never been before. Of course in writing a novel I also present scenes that I hope the reader can clearly visualize. That is part of the clue to good writing. There is a tendency for the writer to want to show off his knowledge and give in-depth descriptions and accounts, but it can be overdone, and the reader can get impatient. The result could be disengagement with the story as the reader skips forward, and then to recover the thread of the story, a need to go back and re-read a section because an important fact or sentiment or intuition was missed.
So it is for the orienteer. Contact with the landscape through reading the map is essential, otherwise it is easy to become misplaced and confused. Unfortunately the only answer might be to go back to a known point. In the end this may be the best strategy and if done quickly not a great deal of time need be lost. The parallels in the two tasks are obvious.
Happy reading and navigating through Cave Hill.