The BookMap and the Golden Egg

Sue Eves BookMap at The Golden Egg Academy
BookMap - folded first pages

I know where I'm going - I've been there before and I'm going back - with my BookMap.


I've made 16 poster-sized pages of the journey through my story. Unfolding each page reveals columns filled with words about setting, characters, motivations and revelations.


I had no idea how important 'mapping' my novel would be when I began analysing the 2nd draft.


The timing was perfect for me. I couldn't wait to finish my accounts' spreadsheet in April. It was such a relief to be filling columns with words instead of numbers.


The April Mapping Your Novel workshop with Imogen Cooper and Vanessa Harbour was a little terrifying. Especially the 'Spider Chart'. How could I begin to work out what my novel was really about?

Golden Egg Academy Spider Chart for Mapping Your Novel Introduction
Spider Chart for 'Mapping Your Novel'

What amazed me was how much of my 48,000 word story I remembered. I'd finished the 2nd draft of my 'middle grade' fiction at the end of last year. Drawing the spider chart was an adrenaline rush to get to the heart of it. What are the main themes of the story? What do they all lead to? I remember being so excited about telling all to my piece of paper that it made me cry . But it was O.K. Vanessa was nearby, watching over the brood of Egg writers. She gave me a reassuring smile and there were mini chocolate eggs on standby.

Golden Egg Mini chocolate treat

It took me a month to complete my BookMap. 24 spreadsheet style pages. 10,000 words. I loved discovering my story all over again. Reading every chapter and noting down everything, including time of day - details, details, details. Then it was time to meet Mother Goose (AKA Imogen Cooper).

Imogen Cooper, after Golden Egg Academy Editorial in Bath
Editor, Imogen Cooper - Mother Goose clutching her Golden Egg Academy bag


  • What's your story about?
  • What's at stake?
  • What are the points of no return?
  • What's missing?
  • Why is there a ...?
  • Who is...?
  • What does she want?


Write down the things you can't  write the story without.

And I did. I revised my BookMap to a focussed 16 pages, 8,000 words. I have a new title, a new ending and a clear story. I've molted 7 chapters. It was all down to answering Imogen's insightful questions.


As a result of all this mapping practise I have completed 2 of my picture books and devised 2 more. My 63-page 'swipe book' for ipad is now also a traditional format 32-page picture book after a glorious 2 hours remapping it. Bonus!

Big thanks to all at The Golden Egg Academy for nurturing this little Egg.

Poster-sized pages folded to make my BookMap at The Golden Egg Academy
BookMap - Act I

I couldn't resist making a real map out of my BookMap pages.


I never dreamt I'd be more excited about my story now that I'm at the rewriting stage. I've prepared Act I. Now I'm ready for the inaugural Golden Egg Writing Retreat this weekend. I've downloaded Waze, there's a Sat Nav in my car and with my BookMap, I'm good to go.


I realise, after talking with Vanessa Harbour on facebook this morning, that my BookMap makes me feel like I have a book now. Also, I was surprised to read that it's not only new drivers who use a BookMap. Read Vanessa's blog about hers here.

Comments: 2 (Discussion closed)
  • #1

    Chitra (Sunday, 14 December 2014 10:39)

    Hi Sue,

    I've been thinking about doing one of the BookMap workshops - didn't think it would work for picture books - thought it was for longer books.

    I have two finished and one almost finished longer stories - maybe it is time to do the bookmap

  • #2

    Sue Eves (Sunday, 14 December 2014 11:22)

    Hi Chitra,
    I didn't use the BookMap for my picture books - the work I did on my BookMap helped me see my stories clearer - I use storyboards for picture books.

    I've finished redrafting my story with my BookMap and it works (my first draft was 64K - now 40k) there is no way I would have got to this stage by now without it.

    If have a first draft of longer fiction, the BookMap is an excellent way to edit.

    Good luck!