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Tiny’s City – A Writer’s Map

In a miniature city with thirteen intersecting streets of dizzying detail made out of discarded and recycled all-sorts, it can be hard to keep track of the little artist that built it.

Tiny Life and the Monster Head - Working Map

Tiny himself knows the streets like the back of his hand, of course, but the writer needed a map. And so I drew one. In fact I drew two. The map pictured above is the second one because it’s the most legible of the two. However, there is one street missing, Alphabet Alley, which is located one block west of Treefall Parade and runs north to south.

Whenever there was something happening in and around those unusual streets, it was essential while writing about it to have a clear view of the layout. If you read the extracts below you’ll get a sense of that, and if you check the map as well, you’ll see how everything links up.

It’s not at all necessary for the reader to have a map as long as they trust in the writer’s geography – but he or she might find it interesting, nevertheless. So in a future edition of the book, I may include a map of Tiny’s city at the front. In the meantime, if you’re reading it and you’d like a bird’s eye view of the action, please feel free to use mine.

He raced through the shrinking shadow to the point where Matchstick Mile turned into Strikeside Road, then dived inside the tower on Jigsaw Corner.

While he waited, Frankie looked up and down the Scrabble piece street and suddenly realised that it wasn’t just paved with random slabs. Between the ‘A’ at the top and the ‘Y’ at the bottom, were all the letters that made up the name, “ALPHABET ALLEY”.

Before Curly Cone Heights and Sycamore Circle had been turned into an oversized water feature, Tiny had been able to walk down these steps and cut straight across the plaza. He would need a boat to do that now so he went round instead.

On the other side he arrived at the junction of Sunflower Street, but the first thing he saw was the avenue that ran off it, Blue Boulevard, and it wasn’t nearly so blue anymore.

He picked up his paint pots and began striding along the all-new Ladybird Lane, running his eyes over the many black dots on the hotchpotch walls. They were all shapes and sizes, and some were more splodges than spots, but just like the ones on a ladybird’s wing shells, each dot was as unique as a thumbprint.

Tiny seized hold of a doorknocker made from a zipper as another jolt sent a poppy head bollard from the South Seed Promenade rolling across the Lane

Ahead of him lay a choice of five streets, and crossing through all of them at right angles was another one called Glitter Grove. That was the street he was heading for but it was a particular part of it that he needed – the part between Matchstick Mile and Yarrow Yard, because half way between the two stood Stiletto Monument.

Even if someone had spun him round blindfolded, he would have known exactly what street he was in, just from the texture of the ground beneath his feet. China chips meant he was in the Avenue of Roses; lacquered leaves meant Treefall Parade; sequins meant he was in Glitter Grove.

He walked all these streets and all the rest, pacing and thinking, pacing and thinking until eventually he became too tired and too hungry to pace or to think. So it was on the wine bottle corks of Cork Walk where he finally stopped for a rest – just a short rest…and a bit of nap.

Tiny Life & The Monster Head


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Dear Rai,