How To Create A Storyboard on Pinterest

Storyboards are fun and inspiring. Here's how I create one.

Okay, today I’m doing something a little different! Instead of a blog post, here’s a 12 minute video on how to create a storyboard on Pinterest. People have asked me how I find my images, so in this video I’m showing you my process. If you’re already a Pinterest storyboarding pro this video probably isn’t for you, but if you are new to storyboarding or Pinterest, check it out.

I show you examples of my boards in this video, but if you want to see more amazing boards by other writers, see my post 20 Storyboards You Should Be Following.

30 Day Writing Challenge

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile. As some of you know I finished the first draft of my novella, Raven In Gray, a few months ago. Since then I’ve been on a break from novel writing and blogging. I’m still not ready to return to that project, but I’m itching to start working on my next novel The Mists of Bellicent Bay.

I’m trying really, really hard to actually plot and outline and prepare before I start writing (not easy as a pantser,) and I decided that a little challenge might help.

Want to join in?

This will probably be most appropriate for those in the beginning stages of writing a book, but perhaps you’ll find a few prompts here to inspire you even if you’re further along.

I’ll be starting in April and will post about my experience on my Facebook page. I hope you’ll join in and share yours as well! Please use the hashtag #onewordwritingchallenge on FB and IG! 🙂

 

30 Day Writing Challenge to take you deeper into your story, characters, and creative process.

 

Being True To The Story

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." ~ Stephen King

I recently found myself at a dead end with my work-in-progress, Raven in Gray. If you’re a pantser like me you’re probably familiar with the question I was asking myself: now what?

I tried to write myself out of it. I played the what if game. I read. I went out and lived life, hoping to be hit by a lightening bolt of inspiration. I pinned to my book’s storyboard endlessly. I walked away from my manuscript, figuring I’d simply lost my pants and I’d eventually find them when the time was right. But time ticked on. And on. And on. Nothing.

I asked myself if there were fears I wasn’t acknowledging. Maybe that was the problem? Nope.

Then one day, when I was obsessing over the plot and my characters for the thousandth time, I noticed something in myself. It was a feeling that arose in response to one aspect of my story: the fact that my protagonist has a young son. It was a feeling so fleeting and subtle I hadn’t noticed it before. And the feeling was sort of like the sensation that comes over me when I think about doing something I don’t want to do (dishes, the dentist, parties.)

Since I approach writing as an intuitive process, I knew I needed to explore this feeling. The result of that exploration was the realization that my protagonist doesn’t have a son. Well, she shouldn’t.

But you’ve already written him into the plot! That will change everything!

Yes, yes, it’s a pain, but that’s how stories are written. They evolve and change. I had to accept the fact that my protagonist being a mother was simply not true to the story.

So I took out the kid and guess what happened? Bam. The inspiration, words, and ideas flowed like water out of a busted dam.

Being true to the story is kind of an abstract idea, but I think this is what it’s about. Stories and characters have a life of their own and it’s our job to represent that story and that character truthfully. It’s our job to find “the truth inside the lie” as Stephen King says. Our characters will let us know if we aren’t telling the truth. But sometimes they whisper their objections so quietly we can’t even hear. All we have is a subtle, ooky feeling that something isn’t right.

Don’t ignore that feeling. It can be the difference between a few small revisions and an entire re-write!

What about you? Are there times you realized you weren’t being true to your story?

The Character Insight Spread

A fun, unique, and surprisingly effective way to learn more about your character! Use a tarot deck or regular playing cards.

Have you ever had one of your characters surprise you? Perhaps something they said gave you a sudden insight into their motivation. Or perhaps you awoke in the middle of the night with a realization about their past. Good characters do that. They are always whispering little secrets about themselves that they want us to know. This exercise is a fun and unique way to turn up the volume on those whispers!

I’ve been using the Tarot for almost twenty years to help friends and family gain insights into themselves. The other day it hit me: why not create a spread specifically for the characters in my book? And so The Character Insight Spread was born!

Not only does this layout provide insights about your character’s life and personality, it can also inspire all kinds of new plot twists if you’re feeling stuck.

If you don’t have a Tarot deck, you can use regular playing cards. It won’t be as in depth, but it will work. Visit Playing Card Divination for excellent descriptions of card meanings.

The Layout

The character insight spread for writers

1. The character’s past.

2. The character’s present.

3. The character’s future.

4. Subconscious influences/a secret. (What the character doesn’t see.)

5. Hopes or fears.

6. Their world view.

7. Their world view continued.

 

How To Do It

Shuffle your cards and think about your character. I usually say “Tell me about so-and-so,” a few times. After they are thoroughly shuffled, cut the deck once, then lay out your cards. If you’re an expert card reader you can take it from here. If not, consult the book that came with your Tarot deck or look up playing card meanings here. You may also leave your layout in the comments and I will try to help.

As you are interpreting the reading, keep an open mind and engage your imagination. Sometimes cards are only hints. Let them spark your creativity! If you are confused about a card pull a second card to clarify.

Remember that the cards influence one another and are interpreted as a whole.

About Court Cards

Court cards can be tricky to interpret. They can represent your character, aspects of their personality, or another person all together. If, for example, a Queen shows up in your character’s world view, consider that it might be their mother or another woman who impacted your character in a profound way. Perhaps the layout is telling you another character should be added to your story. If you are totally confused about the appearance of a face card in your reading, pull a second card to clarify.

Example Reading 1

Example 1This reading is for my character, Raven, from my current work in progress, Raven In Gray.

1. Her past: Restricted, unable to make decisions. Sorrow. Imprisoned.

2. Her present: Imbalance. Energy is being wasted and scattered. Out of control.

3. Her future: Sharp, organized, and perceptive. Able to cut through confusion to arrive at the truth. Transformation.

4. Subconscious influences/secret: Moving away from conflict. Let emotions settle.

5. Hopes or fears: Freedom from bondage.

6. World view: Poverty, low vitality, spiritual emptiness.

7. World view continued: Sudden, unexpected upheaval.

Putting It Together

Raven is a woman who has felt trapped and in bondage. She is currently acting out and going to extremes because of that frustration. Her subconscious knows she needs to move away from the source of her emotional upheaval (whether or not she listens to that wisdom is another matter.) Her ultimate hope is to be free from the bondage she feels. Her world view is that poverty and tragedy can strike at any moment, so she must constantly be on guard. (I didn’t know this about her. Why she feels this way is something I’ll have to explore.) But in the end her future looks positive; she has become the wise Queen of Swords who has learned from her past. She is looking down at the butterfly on her sword, knowing that like the butterfly she has been transformed.

Example Reading 2Example 2

This reading is about Torin, my tormented artist in Raven In Gray.

1. His past: Intense grief and loss. Suppressed pain not being faced.

2. His present: Overwhelmed by financial demands. No long-term plans.

3. His Future: Dreamy and passive. Lives in fantasy not reality. Creative outlet could help.

4. Subconscious influences/secret: Life feels unfair. Blaming others for problems. Comparing self to others.

5. Hopes or fears: Moving away from conflict. Emotions settle.

6. World view: Hard working. Skilled with materials and hands.

7. World view continued: Just like life, we have our own cycles and rhythms. Fate.

Putting It Together

Torin experienced profound pain and loss but never dealt with it. (Something I didn’t know about him. But it fits!) Currently he is floundering, especially financially. He doesn’t even realize that he blames others for his own problems, or that he compares himself to others. He hopes someday he will escape conflict and pain, and experience peace. His world view is actually pretty positive. He views himself as skilled. He knows that life is cyclical so perhaps he figures that “things will eventually come around.” He believes in fate, which might make him feel disinclined to take action. In the end, he chooses passivity, and decides he’d rather stay in his fantasy world than face the reality outside.

 

Both of these readings were crazy accurate. And both gave me some interesting ideas to chew on.

Give it a try and see what you find! Let me know how it works for you.

If you’re struggling with the interpretation, give me a shout out. I’m happy to help if I can!

3 Keys To Creating The Hero Of Your Reader’s Dreams

How to create a character they'll never forget.

Who doesn’t love falling in love? One of my favorite parts of being a writer is the experience of falling head over heels in love with a character.

That’s also why I devour romance novels like they are some sort of peanut butter and chocolate concoction. Every time I pick up a book, I hope that the hero in this story will be one of them… you know, one of the few who joins the ranks of fictional men I’ll never forget.

I was recently told by a reader that the hero of my novel Dharma and Desire is on their list of favorite characters ever. I was honored — and floored. I’m not saying this to brag. I don’t imagine my hero is everyone’s cup of tea. But it got me thinking. What about him touched this reader (and me) so deeply?

Why do some heroes ingrain themselves in our minds and hearts while others don’t? What sets them apart? 

Being a good person with passion and purpose is the foundation for a great hero. Add the following traits and conflicts to the mix and you have the recipe for an irresistible character…

1. He’s wounded.

I know, describing the hero as some sort of wounded animal is pretty cliche. But we can’t argue with what works.

And why does it work? An animal that is wounded is both vulnerable and dangerous. All women possess a primal instinct to heal. And if the animal they want to heal is dangerous because it is in pain — she’ll want to help even more. And so will your reader.

It’s also humbling to have a wound or limitation. Generally speaking, heroes are a bit arrogant, so an injury is a good way to temper that arrogance.

The wound can be mental, emotional, or physical — or a combination of them all. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long is it makes him vulnerable, dangerous, and a little bit humble.

2. He has a damn good reason why he can’t (or shouldn’t) be with her.

Every woman wants a man who wants her desperately, madly, and passionately. A hero who will launch a thousand ships to reach her shore. A lover who will go mad if he cannot be with her. So give him a reason why he can’t be with her and watch him go mad. A hero who is deeply conflicted over his desire for the heroine is oh so intriguing. (Mr. Darcy, anyone?)

Keep in mind that the reason he can’t (or shouldn’t) be with her can be minor to the heroine, the reader and the world, but it must be a damn good reason to him.

3. He knows something the heroine, and possibly the reader, doesn’t know.

We all want a mysterious hero and this trick certainly helps. It can be applied in two different ways:

  1. He has worldly knowledge or wisdom that your heroine and/or reader does not have (and wants to have.)
  2. He has a secret that the heroine and/or reader should (and eventually will) know.

If you want your hero to be especially mysterious use them both! I did. My hero possesses deep spiritual wisdom. My heroine desperately needs the guidance and wisdom he can offer. My hero ALSO has a secret: knowledge of a dark prophecy about the heroine which is not revealed until the end.

(And by the way, that dark prophesy is also one of the damn good reasons he can’t be with her.)

 

So there you have it. Combine one or more of these and you’ll write a hero your readers will never forget!

What makes a hero unforgettable to you?

20 Novel Storyboards You Should Be Following

20 Novel Storyboards

Ah, Pinterest, you are both the bane and joy of writers the world over. On one hand we can use Pinterest to create stunning visual representations of the world we are creating with our words. On the other hand, we can distract ourselves for hours at a time in the endless sea of images.

But to me the price is worth it. There’s nothing I love more than creating storyboards for my novels. It’s an integral part of my creative process.

I also love following other writers on Pinterest, and glimpsing into the worlds they have created. Not only do other author’s boards inspire me and spark ideas, but I often find the perfect image on another writer’s board. (After hours of using the Pinterest search option to no avail.) We writers think in the same dramatic way. We’re drawn to the same types of photographs.

So I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite Pinterest storyboards. All of these are beautiful and inspiring. I’m mostly drawn to the historical, romantic, and dramatic, so that’s what most of these boards represent.

While you’re here please leave a link to your book’s storyboard in the comments!

Don’t have a novel storyboard?

No worries, these boards will be all the inspiration you need. And if you’d like to see how I go about creating one, check out this post: How to Create a Storyboard on Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.com/bonaventier/the-good-adventurers-storyboard/

https://www.pinterest.com/justlaina/faith-storyboard/

https://www.pinterest.com/highlyblissed/novel-the-mists-of-bellicent-bay/

https://www.pinterest.com/liathaven/storyboard-revenant/

https://www.pinterest.com/MMAlexander15/storyboard-raven-hill/

https://www.pinterest.com/jasmoon/storyboard-calageata-ii/

https://www.pinterest.com/liathaven/storyboard-the-ones-who-leave/

 https://www.pinterest.com/greywintersong/storyboard-last-summer/

http://www.pinterest.com/highlyblissed/dharma-and-desire-my-novel/

https://www.pinterest.com/MMAlexander15/storyboard-emily-rose/

http://www.pinterest.com/brennach/storyboard-chief-king/

http://www.pinterest.com/nessacakes52/novel-storyboard-untitled/

https://www.pinterest.com/Lilyjenness/storyboard-noxumbra-manor/

https://www.pinterest.com/moraduial/storyboard-last-ones-standing/

https://www.pinterest.com/jasmoon/storyboard-the-butterfly-bridge-inspiring-imagery/

https://www.pinterest.com/bethgadar/novel-noir/

https://www.pinterest.com/ninthmoriarty/storyboard-kingmaker-ap/

https://www.pinterest.com/sarahallstein/storyboard-the-wanderers/

https://www.pinterest.com/fullnessofjoy16/the-crown-of-life-storyboard/

 

*Please be polite. Re-pins are great. Raiding is not.