Spatial Order

Spatial Order refers to the practice of organizing information (e.g., descriptions of places and objects, instructions and processes) according to their physical location.


It is commonplace in many genres (especially fiction genres but also nonfiction genres) for writers to describe a scene so that readers can imagine themselves in that setting.

  • At the beginning of a novel or movie, a fiction writer or screenwriter could begin with a tight focus on the central protagonist and then move out (e.g., left to right, top to bottom, circle view) to reveal that character’s setting.
  • A realtor uses a floorplan to organize a description of a house for sale
  • A geologist uses GPS coordinates to chart soil contamination around an old gas tank at a gas station.
  • An art critic writes a critique of a painting.
  • A police officer draws a map of an accident scene based on accident reports.

Sample Transitional Words for Spatial Order

a little further on;beneathfarther alongin frontright of
alongsidebeyondjust to the leftnearto the east
behinddownin backon top ofup