In the course of writing a book I often need to put myself into the heads of my characters. No surprise there. What continues to surprise me is how often I need to think like a landscape designer, architect, or interior designer in order to make certain that my characters have the environmental support (or obstacles) needed to fulfill the scene's goal.
Case in point. In my current manuscript I needed to figure out what an external staircase on a hotel would look like. I wanted part of the stairs to be visible, and part of the stairs to be hidden. The staircase is occupied by a couple of terrorists that the hero will need to take out.
I became obsessed with figuring out the configuration of this staircase. Finally, I downloaded a free trial of SketchUp, which is an architectural modeling program. As you'll see from the below screenshot, I am NOT an architect. I couldn't figure out how to get the staircase to wrap around instead of dead-ending into the walls, and didn't have the time to dive into the tutorials.
However, this diagram did give me the necessary layout so I could move beyond my block and continue writing the scene.
I think it's a pretty good thing that I gave up my brief goal of being an architect all those decades ago! LOL
What do you think?