How to use Pinterest to Storyboard

I’ve talked about a few specific story ideas on here but I have so many ideas stuck inside my head that haven’t made it onto the blog.  Or only have a photo collage on my stories page. Each – not matter what stage of planning – has a Pinterest board:

Here are a few reasons why you should storyboard on Pinterest….

  • Aesthetic inspiration.  Lemme tell you, aesthetic boards are so pleasing ❤   If you’re not sure what you want to happen in the story or want a feel for how a certain location looks, make an aesthetic board. Set a mood. I recently created one for a coffee shop for one idea:

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  • Characters. Finding characters is easy on Pinterest – people in fashion, makeup inspiration, actors, etc.  And don’t settle for just one reference! I went through several men before I found the perfect Hunter (that sounds more romantic than I intended haha).

PicMonkey Collage

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  • Scene ideas.  Between photos from movies and writing prompts floating around, scene ideas are endless.  You can also pin quotes that create a scene in your head. For example:

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And thus was born the backstory to why Beau, a young soldier from The Davidson Effect, is not allowed to carry a weapon. Poor guy.

  • Shared authors. A fun thing about Pinterest boards – you can share boards with other pinners! When I was writing a script for a short that included every one of my friends and their siblings, I added each friend as an author.  I was able to see how they pictured their character and scenes they wanted to see in the script.  Very helpful if you have a writing buddy!
  • Frequent edits.  As the story changes,  I always go back and clean up my Pinterest boards. Make sure the pictures are still relevant to your story. Maybe I’m a little OCD, but I can’t stand boards that have over 300 pins….way too many to find inspiration.

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  • New story ideas.  While you’re looking for that perfect character for Novel X, you may happen upon a quote that sparks a new idea.  This could be considered a downside to using Pinterest haha – you may find yourself adding LOTS and LOTS of new stories to your mental to-write list!  Come on, we all have one, don’t we?

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So what are you waiting for? Go create a storyboard!  If you already have a few, it’s always fun to look through and see a visual representation of your future novel 😀

Do you use Pinterest for writing? What are your favorite things to look for – characters, quotes, scenes?

How I’m Plotting 

Plotting generally doesn’t work for me.   Extensive, scene-by-scene outlines make me lose excitement after plannin so many “boring” scenes.  AKA scenes that don’t involve fighting or romance.  But not plotting ends in me never starting because I never know where to start.

With the only novel I’ve finished – The Dove of Hope – I had a writing buddy that chatted with me daily so we kept each other writing without outlines to guide us. (SIDE NOTE: WRITING BUDDIES ARE AMazInG) We talked about endings and shared excerpts, but that was the extent of our plotting.

Without a friend to write with, I have a million unfinished projects.

When starting my most recent project, I decided to try a mixture of two plotting techniques – the zero plot method and the snowflake method.

To start off, an overview!

The Zero Plot Method

This method involves writing a quick draft without any details.  You describe the main events that happen with any important details and leave out the rest to fill in in Draft 1.  For example, here is part of my zero plot for the the first chapter or two for R&B, my current project.

R, a young widow, follows her mother-in-law M to her home town in Alaska after World War I. She is forced to sell her wedding ring in order to pay for room and food during the first few weeks. They come into town and discover it ridden with miners and railway workers after the Treadmill Mine incident the year before. In new surroundings, R is forced to quickly find a job, despite the abundance of workers, in order to open L’s broken-down shop. She runs into B, a handsome farmer, and M remarks how much he looks like O’s husband.  

Ignoring how rough it sounds – gotta love first/zero drafts – I wrote the main events in present tense to quickly get the words on paper. Try not to think too much about it and write through the whole story.

The Snowflake Method

This method takes plotting a little slower, leading up to a summary that basically is a zero draft.  I found the snowflake method on this site.  It takes you step by step, starting with a one-sentence summary:

A young widow struggles to open a shop in a growing Alaskan town while falling for a rich man.

You go on to create a quick one paragraph summary about each character in your novel. Next, you expand your one-sentence plot summary into a full fledged paragraph with characters and conflicts.

You continue to expand each sentence of the character and novel summaries into full paragraphs until you have a few pages of each. At this point, you have a zero draft and pages of character arc information.

The website leads you into creating a spreadsheet to lay out each scene from your summaries before writing the first draft.  I prefer not to do this step.  I also don’t expand the character summaries beyond one paragraph.  Once I go much farther past these steps, I lose inspiration and start drowning in the details.

Merging the Two

By the time I finished using these two methods (following the first steps of the snowflake method and jumping to the zero draft), I had created the following for my novel in a couple hours:

  • A list of major characters
  • A full paragraph description of each character’s goals, motivations, and a brief plot line.
  • A one-sentence book summary.
  • A full paragraph book summary with each major conflict and the ending.
  • A 3 page “zero draft” of my novel with major scenes involving the main characters.

What I didn’t create from the methods:

  • Full page character descriptions with small details like dislikes, favorites, physical descriptions, and backgrounds.
  • A spreadsheet of in-depth scene descriptions.

If you’ve read my other posts, you know that my favorite part of writing is creating characters.  That’s where the planning stops for me. I have a general view of what I want the character to be like but details don’t come out until I’m writing the first draft.  Once in the middle of writing, I create a more in-depth description of each character once I get a feel for them.

Remember, your plotting doesn’t have to be pretty either…this may or may not be a scene idea in my zero draft:

He has to find R is some amazing, exciting way and he FINALLY professes his love to her. Kisses may occur mwahaha

Then you start pounding out the words, filling in scenes here and there and most likely changing your outline as you go.

I’m excited to put these methods to use in all my unfinished projects!

How do you plot?  Or do you prefer to jump in without outlines?


 

Also, forgot last post, but I have a new blog design! I know…this is not the first time I’ve changed it.  But oh well!  🙂