Above my writing desk is – has always been – a collage of images. They’ve shifted and changed over the years, but the ideas have remained. Up there now is my world map, pictures of characters, creatures, settings and inspirations, my cover art. It reminds me to keep working.
And for years, when I’ve started a new chapter, I’ve downloaded a relevant image as my desktop background – something that gives me the setting or the mood of where the event is occurring. Shift my word file sideways, and I know where I am.
So what does in the internet bring us? Oh look, it brings us Pinterest.
Quite apart from the glorious prevarication of hunting out and storing images and telling yourself its work, it’s a perfect place for finding character, costume, setting… a thousand, thousand images, more darkness and more light than you can fit in your head, on your desktop, or your wall. It’s a fantastic place to discover your characters, and to record how they’d grow and change. And it’s a perfect place to construct a plot – to build yourself a literal storyboard that can follow how your narrative will diversify and grow.
It’s also a good place for discovering writing theory. Follow Jennifer Jones’s Writers’ Workshop or author Trisha Goyer for insight and wisdom, and Cat Rambo has one of the most astounding collections of beautiful and inspirational imagery, plus some solid writing help to boot. Publishers are getting on the brand-wagon, as well – Tor keep boards of book covers and tantalising snippets of marketing information.
Keep a page of your own stuff – as Ecko’s presence grows, I can hoard it like treasure, all in one place, and no-one actually really needs to know how stupidly scared and happy it all makes me…
Above all, use it to dream – use it to record what you dream. It’s where we all started with this writing lark.
One last thought though – and back to the subject of desktops and wallpapers… please Pinterest – can you let us make screen savers out of our boards?