Pinterest & Other Methods of Brainstorming
You’ve spent hours dreaming up stories, imagining them as books. You’re itching to start writing, to become the next J.K. Rowling.
Welcome to the honeymoon stage.
This is the most magical part of the writing process. Everything is shiny and new; you have the world at your fingertips.
The trouble is…the white blank page can be quite intimidating.
Turning characters into actual people, building an entire world from nothing, creating fresh and new ideas—okay, so that desk job suddenly doesn’t look so bad. Trust me! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
The good thing is, the internet is a magically-wonderful-idea-making-unicorn-machine. You can find anything on Wikipedia, from sandwich history (or, I’m assuming), to knights, to animals, mythical or real.
Personally, there are a ton of sites and software that are perfect for these stages, but my favorite out of all of them?
That’s right, Pinterest.
Pinterest is like a magical godsend from above. Raise your hand if you’ve spent hours wasting away on pins and ideas, cute little creative projects that never actually look as cute in real life as they do there. The struggle is REAL, my friends.
I think the thing that I love most, is that Pinterest is not only a world of recipes and home decor, but it’s a community of writers and creatives. I never knew this before I started writing. It took one day of being hopelessly bored to troll Pinterest’s art section. There was a piece in particular that made me stop and stare for a good five minutes, new ideas popping into my head.
And seriously, guys, it’s as easy as that.
I made a mood board and made it secret (no one wants to see my embarrassing pin habits). From there, I just started pinning. I wish it were more complicated than that. I wish I had some secret science behind Pinterest that could solve every author’s problems. Reality is, I pinned until I saw a story forming. Using a fresh notebook, I started writing plot points, characters, random tidbits that inspired me from these images. I got deeper into the rabbit hole and started searching aesthetics, browsing other, similar boards, probably cackling evilly the entire time.
From there, the dots were connected. With an idea of the story and its characters in my head, I started to focus in on certain things. I started with world-building, crafting a fantasy kingdom in despair. I used photos of old, dark castles and villages. I pulled inspiration from Iceland, Norway, and other Scandinavian countries. On Pinterest, you can look up recipes and meals from these places. Celebrations, festivities, customary clothing—the list goes on and on.
For character creation, you can look at photography pieces. Portraits, artwork…you can find some aesthetics that go well with your character. As someone who always takes things too far, I started individual boards for each of my characters. I added anything that reminded me of them—quotes, models/actors from movies or TV, or small aesthetic pieces, like red lipstick (*cough cough* we see you Cheryl Blossom), or footballs. If you want to delve into the psychological aspects, you can actually find pins on the Myers-Briggs temperaments.
Really, the possibilities are endless. Other ways to brainstorm ideas:
- Sit in a coffee shop and listen/watch people. I know, that’s sort of creepy, but we’re writers, so that’s okay, right? Take notes on people’s actions/words. How do they talk? What’s their body language like? How do they come across to others? What do YOU think their story might be? The more you practice the art of the subtle stalk, the more you’ll learn. Every single person has their quirks/habits. I have a friend who cannot keep their shoes on. And another who’s always cold. These are the tiny details that will make us fall in love with your characters!
- Go for a walk. Describe the world like an artist. What do you hear/see/notice? What’s the breeze like? Or the color of the sky? Are people happy here?
- Read! Seriously. There’s nothing like reading to aid creativity!
- Browse Wikipedia. Or a library. Find subjects that interest you and weave them into your story.
So there you have it, friends. The best part of the process is now. You have an entire world at your fingertips. How will you create it?