Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Five Ways to Theme Your Pinterest Boards to Inspire Your Writing

I've had Pinterest for a while now, but I've only really started to use it recently. I'm a visual person, so having collections of images that I can scroll through to find inspiration is something that really appeals to me.
Here a five different ways to theme your Pinterest boards so that they'll inspire your writing.

1. Story

If you're a visual person, theming a board around your story can be more beneficial than writing an outline. I always feel like having a map sucks the joy out of writing a first draft, but gathering pictures is different somehow. They don't show you where to go. Instead, they ground the key details in your mind. A flower peeking out between the cracks in a paving stone. A crown, too big for the head it's sat on. Blood, too bright against pale hands. Personally, I like quotes. Little snatches of words that match my character's mindset help me to understand them and their way of thinking.

If you'd like to keep your story-based boards private, then that's your perogative. Mine are marked as private, so I can't add a widget for them like I can the others, but here are some links if you'd like to see some examples.   

2. Genre

A board themed around a genre can inspire a whole story. You could make a fantasy board with pictures of skies filled with dragons, witches clutching canes in their gnarled hands, and villages tucked away at the bottom of wells. You could make a historical board with portraits of Tudor ladies and photographs of architecture from the time. 

I made a Gothic board.

(Of course you did.)

3. Setting

Theming a board around a setting is a great way to spark world-building ideas. Think large-scale or small-scale. It doesn't matter. You can have a collection of steampunk settings with skies filled with ships and far too much brass and copper, or you can make a board for cutesy little cafes with fancy china cups perched on mahogany tables. I have a board dedicated to a setting as narrow as libraries, and another to one as deep as the ocean.

4. Object

Little details matter too. A creepy mirror on the wall of an otherwise ordinary bedroom could be a plot point waiting to happen, or say something about the character who sleeps there. An antique table in the house of a poor family can suggest richer roots. 

5. Character

Billions of humans have lived on planet earth. If you're not a visual person, it can sometimes help to have a picture that looks vaguely like your character, so that you don't have to try and hold one in your head. There are thousands of different types of fairy. Dragons have been written hundreds of ways. Ghosts can be barely there, or so human that they're mistaken for the living. If you don't know what's out there, how can you even attempt to do something different?

If you run out of ideas, there's always that old writing prompt where you find a picture, any picture, and make up a story about the person or people in it.


Pinterest is a great way to inspire your writing. Similar ideas include keeping scrapbooks of clippings from newspapers and magazines, and taking photos of locations when you're out and about.

How do you use Pinterest?