Harness the visual power of Pinterest to storyboard, inspire, research and engage your novel

Pinterest is a long-tail, visual medium.

Meaning: if you post something today, it will be easy to find in two years…as opposed to the scrolling feeds of Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr. That’s good news for us novel writers, where it can take months or years to complete a project.

Here are four quick ways to take advantage of Pinterest Boards.

  1. Storyboard: A storyboard encompasses the look and feel of your story. In the past, storyboards were used to take the reader from the beginning to the end of the story in a linear fashion, particularly for movies or commercials. But on Pinterest, a storyboard is more of a visual snapshot. To harness your manuscript ideas, pin from the following categories:
  • Characters: hair and eye colors, clothing styles
  • Setting: interior and exterior shots, style of house and/or car
  • Character Hobbies/Trades: character at work, tools of the trade
  • Accessories: Swords, jewelry, headphones, anything the character can’t live without
  • And kissing. Lots of kissing photos (or maybe that’s just me)

Take a look at example boards by Tracey Joseph, Ashley Leath and Mary Dunbar here, here and here.

Should it be a ‘secret’ board? That’s completely up to you. Some writers like to have boards of inspiration available for all to see. Others prefer to keep WIP inspirations secret until they are ready to query or published.

TIP: You can always make a secret board public, but not the other way around.

Also, author Kristen Kieffer has quite a range of character inspirations on her Pinterest account. Here’s one example.

  1. Inspire: You can create a ‘random’ board of images you like but don’t quite know what to do with yet. It can be quotes, rooms, flowers, costumes…anything that makes you happy. Keep adding to this board and see what patterns emerge over time.

Check out this board for an example of an inspiration board. And Jenny Phillips has a quote-only board to get you inspired.

  1. Research: If you’re not able to travel to your novel’s setting, having a collection of images can help when worldbuilding. Types of Regency dress? Pin a collection. Just what did a bouquet of freesia mean in Victorian times? Got it. As you pin, make notes in the pin, to help you remember WHY you pinned that image.

Here’s a board I created for my own research.

You can also create a board of craft posts, things that you can go back to when you get stuck in your writing. Tomi Adeyemi has a great Writing Tips board.

Kristen Oliphant, Mandy Corine and Maggie Maxwell all host popular writing Group Boards here, here and here.

  1. Engage: Join a group board, or host your own. I share a few boards with my CP’s, as a way for us to help each other worldbuild. If I see an image I think is perfect for her board, I’ll just pin it there.

Here’s two examples of a group board novel imagery/worldbuilding done by critique partners – here and here.

Search within Pinterest (vs Google) to find related boards and pinner and to make connections. Like and comment on their boards, and you’ll soon be building your Pinterest presence too.

Quick start how-to’s:

  1. Create a Pinterest account
  2. Install the Pinterest browser button on your browser of choice
  3. Create a new Board, keeping it secret if so desired
  4. Pin from a Pinterest or Google search

TIP: Don’t forget to set a timer—say 15 minutes per day—so time doesn’t get away from you.

Participating in Nanowrimo? Join my group board here

Lana is presenting a workshop on Author Branding at SavvyAuthors starting November 14th. 

Lana PattersonBio: Hi y’all! I’m a Marketing Consultant with expertise in Brand Planning and Social Media. For over 15 years I’ve worked in the wine & spirits industry, marketing powerhouse brands globally such as The Macallan Scotch Whisky, Jacob’s Creek wines, and Kahlua Coffee Liqueur.

I’ve lived all over: Ontario, Texas, Las Vegas, New York & Scotland. I have a BS in Business Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

I write YA Historical Fantasy. I’m a member of RWA, YARWA, and CHRW.

Currently, I live in Westchester County, New York with my husband, daughter, and furbaby. Connect with me via my website, LanaPattinson.com, where I blog about Books, Booze & Scotland. You can also find me on Pinterest or Twitter. Follow me on Twitter (@lana_pattinson) or my blog on www.lanapattinson.com, or join my Pinterest for Authors Facebook group

Cheers! Lana