Even with good maps and detailed directions, I get lost. My husband gave me a GPS for Christmas, which has cut down the number of times I miss turns because I can’t read the street signs. As much as I value my map-reading skills, having Miss MapVoice tell me “turn left now” has proven more useful than I expected.
I want a GPS for writers. I can read an outline and story arc diagrams; I can follow detailed instructions on crafting character and inserting sensory details. What would be extraordinarily useful, however, would be a little voice saying “make the character leap off the bridge now” or “have the puppy dig up the flower garden now” or “let the cranky lady down the street say something nice now.” It would be so pleasant to have a screen pop up telling me how many story threads I have spooling out in front of me, and which ones are likely to end suddenly, or veer off in another direction. I would love to have a box in the corner of the screen telling me how fast the story is flowing, and what the posted speed limit for this kind of story is, so I could tell if I need to pick up the pace or slow things down.
For now, I’m stuck with my low-tech pencils and post-it notes, dreaming of the day someone invents the perfect device for finding my way through a story.