Friday, September 21, 2012

How I Use Pinterest for Discovery Writing

It must be fall.  Cooler days set my imagination on fire.  Too much heat sends me burning out of control, making no sense out of anything.  Once fall creeps in, I cool down and I can see exactly what it is I need to do.  And right now, I need to pin things.  Pretty things.  Scary things.  Weird things.  Completely random crap that I have no idea why I'm pinning them but that's exactly why I need to pin them.  These things that speak to me, they're story gold.  I'm highly visual, so this is a critical part of the discovery process for me.

The first thing I'm doing this writing season is let my imagination wander on Pinterest.  This is pretty much the only time I let myself click that dangerous "everything" button.  Lots of random stuff there.  Or I might scan through specific categories, like "celebrities" if I need character ideas or "travel" if I need a setting spark.   I also like to use Flickr Interesting Photos.   The only downside to this is that photo owners have the option to block pins, so you can't pin copyrighted images.  It's a major bummer to fall in love with something only to realize you can't pin it.  If you really love it, remember that you can always go old school and save the page in your bookmarks and refer to it later when you want to stare at a picture in order to write a heavily descriptive section of your story.

Now, back to Pinterest.


I started the organization phase by creating four generic story inspiration boards: SettingCharacters, and Miscellaneous.  Next, I created a board specifically for my current WIP.  It's blank at the moment, so I'm not linking to it yet.   I can pin images directly to this board as I find them, or I can move or repin images from the generic boards onto this story-specific board.  If I really want to get into the story, I can create pin boards for each main character or pin boards for each act.  I'm loving all the possibilities!

Of course, once I'm drafting, I don't want to hang out on Pinterest much.  A "quick peek" at my story board could easily lead to an entire afternoon of pinning and a critical missed writing opportunity. So, I'm weighing my options.  I can simply take a screenshot of the entire pin board and hang that page up near my writing area, or I could print items individually to rearrange in scrapbook fashion on a whiteboard or on a sheet of pretty scrapbook paper.  I think, for now, simpler is better.  If I get stuck later on while drafting, I'll appreciate the opportunity to cut and paste in the name of research.

If you use Pinterest for writing inspiration, I'd love to hear how you use it or take peek at your boards!

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