Pinterest – The New Writer's Tool

2013-01-15_06-09-10_304I don’t know if you have had the opportunity, or perhaps the misfortune of discovering  Pinterest yet, but anyone who has can testify to how addicting it is. For those of you who haven’t, Pinterest is an idea sharing website. You build virtual bulletin boards to which you “pin” pictures which link back to recipes, craft ideas, decorating tips, clothing, jewelry, books, music, just about anything you might have an “interest” in.

Recently I was looking for a better way to develop my characters for a new book. I Googled “character development tools” and got loads of long worksheets filled with questions about a character. Questions like: What is their favorite food? What music do they listen to? What is their favorite book? The problem with using one of these time tested lists for me is that I have problems with memory and simply answering these questions wouldn’t be enough. I would need to refer back to my characters’ lists often. I already have stacks of notes I refer to while writing. Adding pages and pages of more notes felt overwhelming, and I could see myself frantically searching for some little piece of information I needed to make sure my character was staying in character.

So one day I was playing on Pinterest, lamenting the fact that I was wasting time when I should have been writing, when it came to me. Why not build boards for my characters? I can pin foods they like, music, books, clothing styles, hair styles, just about anything. It gives me a visual representation of my characters. I’ve also downloaded a tool so I can pin items from anywhere on the internet, not just from the Pinterest site. So far, I find this is working wonderfully. I just glance at a page of pictures and my character and all their quirks are there for me instantly. Not only does this help me to better develop my characters, but now I can stop feeling guilty when Pinterest has sucked me in again – at least a little.

The End, a beginning…

Last week I took a vacation from my day job, and locked myself in a room in an effort to finish my first full-length novel “Souljourner”. On the afternoon of July 31st it happened; I finally got to the end.  By the way, despite my husband’s protests, I did not write “The End” at the end.
I am, what other writers call a “pantser”, in other words, I fly by the seat of my pants. Instead of starting with a detailed outline, I just write. When I start writing the story, I might have a general idea of the general premise, but for the most part I let the story tell itself. That can be frightening, especially to those who are “planners”, but it’s the way that works best for me.
In the beginning, even I don’t know the end, so it’s extremely exciting when I get there, because I’m getting the same thrill of discovering what happens as, hopefully, my readers will.
But this ending is also, what I hope will be, a beginning. I can’t convey how much pleasure writing is for me. How miraculous it is to have all the pieces fall into place, in almost a magical way, to make a complete story. I will be blissfully happy if I get to do this for the rest of my days.
So here’s to reaching the end of one story, and hopefully the beginning of my new life.