I met the point in my book were my main character is exploring the “New World,” which in this case is a school complex. I realized I couldn’t write about what he was seeing unless I had a good understanding of the space myself. I started off drawing the school grounds free hand, but my skills and proportion are extremely lacking. Then I tried redrawing everything on graph paper, but I kept making mistakes, a racing lines over and over, and then having to start over from the beginning.
I thought there must be a way to do this electronically, but I didn’t want to waste a lot of time learning specialty floor plan software. It turns out that there is a free software program available that is very intuitive to use. It’s called Sweet Home 3D and it runs in Java, which means it will work on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I’ve installed it and I have to say, it’s impressive. It even lets you do a 3D mock-up and walk through the room. All this in less than ten minutes. Needless to say, I’m laying out the whole school so that I always have consistency in what my characters are seeing.