I write to you today about a marvelous new addiction–whoops, I mean research tool introduced to me by my writer friend MG (you can find her blog and the related post under my Writers Blogs link list, and she’s also part of my indispensable Support Staff). Although she writes a different genre than myself (and I think has actually finished a book and perhaps even sold a few), she often has good ideas regarding writing tools and other goodies.
Now, I’ve always hunted for images of people online and in magazines who looked like how I imagined my character would, and on some occasions I grab a picture of an actor (Kevin Smith, aka Ares to those of us who watched “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and Michael Biehn of “The Abyss and “Aliens” to name two). Often these are the first things I look for before a single word on an outline is written. I’ve also snapped photos of real locations that are the settings for my WIP from in and around Kalispell, MT. Until now, I’ve saved them to a folder on my flash drive and had to navigate between folders to get a look at them, or referring to the physical 3×5 photos in a binder or in my online photo storage. Now, with MG’s new find, Pinterest, I can have it all available to me no matter where I am because not only can I access it online, but there’s a handy iPhone app too!
Here’s how it works: 1) create a pinboard (think virtual cork board), 2) categorize it (so others can find your goodies too) and 3) begin pinning images! You can pull them from the web, or upload them from your computer, and with my iPhone app I can also take photos and pin them or pull them from the phone’s photo library.
The image below is what my Current WIP Inspiration board looks like, after today’s latest pin (newest are placed upper left hand corner, oldest at the bottom). I started with the things I had on my flash drive, and worked my way from there. I haven’t pinned everything, such as Halloween costumes for other characters (that scene’s written) or photos of the other characters, but it’s full of the story’s locations, vehicles (one of which I didn’t have an image of before Pinterest) and reminders of what I love about this project:
Since that first board I’ve created nine more on all sorts of topics: Ireland, places to visit, books I’m reading, cute cat stuff (including my girls Tink and Molly) and another inspirational board, What I Want (out of my life). I don’t know if there’s a limit of how many boards you can have or how many items can be pinned to one, but I see at least a few more in my future for those other novels I’ve got waiting in the wings.
If you request an invitation and join Pinterest, you can find me at http://pinterest.com/nixdesk/. If you follow me, I’ll absolutely return the favor so we can find our inspirations together.