At the very heart of our writing is inspiration. What we’re inspired by is very personal and unique to each of us, and how we carry that through an entire project probably varies so widely that I couldn’t even begin to imagine all of the different techniques that writers use!
As for me, I like a good visual. As I mentioned in a previous post, Holly disappears into her room for hours making slideshows set to music that visually represent our ideas and characters, but I lean more towards a good old-fashioned mood/inspiration board. In fact, for my own side project (I have something I’ve been working on in my free time–wait, did I say “free time”? *Insert chuckles here…*) I have three giant pieces of poster board plastered with images that get me into a mental place where I can become my protagonist and where I live in her world. For that manuscript, the location happens to be a fictional Florida Key populated by retirees and filled with mystery and romance, so to create my inspiration boards I happily spent an afternoon with a stack of Island Life and Florida Travel and Life magazines, scissors, glue sticks, and my favorite album by The Cure.
But that’s where we encounter a bit of a generation gap, my lovely daughter and I. I’ve got a Millenial on my hands who is already heavily immersed in the land of Apple products, and to her, old school collage-making reeks of a pre-school art project. So we explored as many online inspiration board and mood board options as we could for our project, hoping to find something that worked for both of us. Some sites/apps were incredibly promising but didn’t deliver, and others were just complex and clearly made for work-based idea collaboration. The easiest and most user-friendly tool we found was a site called www.photovisi.com that lets you choose a layout for your collage, then add pictures and reposition/re-size them to get the look you desire.
The mood board we have here is representative of our first book, which is about a girl from Holland who ends up living outside of San Francisco. We chose scenes from autumn, Chinatown, Disneyland, and a very special cat, and they all feel just right to us when we think about the important scenes from that manuscript. As I write this, Holly is next to me with her laptop, working on a mood board for book #2.
With google and online collage-makers we have a world of inspirational photos at our fingertips, and the means to put together some pretty cool mood boards. But give me a pile of magazines, some Elmer’s glue, and the 80s Alternative station on Pandora, and I can happily pass an afternoon lost in my own world of inspiration.