My first step was to use a whiteboard to draw out the basic layout of the town. To keep it small, I only put in two streets that go through the downtown area with the majority of the businesses on Main with only a few on the secondary street. Using the town that has been the inspiration for this series, I have laid out the buildings in a similar fashion.
Lastly, I listed the types of stores and offices that would work to enhance the small town feel I'm going for. While writing each story, certain stores have needed to be changed, sometimes in location, sometimes the type of of store. All of that is easily accomplished with an eraser and a dry erase marker.
With each book I hope to show the true heart of the series - the residents of the town. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.