by Jennifer Bonds
I’ve always been a visual person, so whether I’m reading or writing, I like to imagine the world I’m exploring or creating in my mind. And while I like to think I’ve got a great (read: overactive) imagination, there are times (usually when the kids are running in and out of my office) when I need a bit of external inspiration to help me focus on a scene and bring it to life.
This was doubly true when I was writing my new romcom, Royal Trouble, because, y’all, the closest I’ve ever come to being a princess was during a family vacation to Orlando.
I’m a plotter by nature, so before a single word is ever written on a first draft, I already know where the story is going. But as I shape my characters and fine-tune their voices, I need to get to know them on a deeper level. What are their favorite foods, slang words, sports teams, and tv shows? What are their ticks and idiosyncrasies? What makes them laugh, cry, or go from zero to full throttle?
That’s where Pinterest comes in. A lot of writers use character interviews when getting to know their characters, but I prefer to make mood boards for each of my books. The mood boards allow me to create a virtual collage with pins of places the characters visit, where they live, what they wear, memes they love, and even how they look. Pinning helps me fine tune the setting, the vibe of the story, and sometimes, even the plot.
Plus, it gives me an excuse to shout “Research!” when my husband catches me scrolling through my Pinterest feed while I’m supposed to be writing. #winning
Sure, it can be time consuming, and yes, there are days I find myself so far down the rabbit hole it’s hard to find my way back out, but I like to think the time invested is time well spent because it allows me to accurately depict locations I’ve never visited, clothing I’ve never worn (looking at you breeches), and foods I haven’t tried…yet.
Even better? These mood boards give me a reference tool I can use as I move through a series, ensuring the details of the world I’ve created remain consistent because nothing pulls you out of a story faster than a character’s eye color or hometown changing mid-series, amirite?
A series bible can certainly serve the same purpose, but having the visuals saved and sorted makes it super easy for me to bring my mind back to the original details of the story whether I’m trying to describe a castle, a rose garden, or a cock-blocking cat (yes, really).
I’ve also discovered that readers LOVE these mood boards as much as I do, so in addition to helping me get to know my characters and story, they’re also perfect for social media, because let’s face it, we live in a visual society.
We all scroll our feeds looking for quick cues to help us decide if we should keep scrolling or pause and read more. Which is why I take a few images from my Pinterest board and curate them into a collage that I hope will help my readers quickly understand what they can expect in each of my books.
Want to check out my mood board for Royal Trouble? Just click HERE!
So, now that you know all about my Pinterest obsession (which also includes bookends), I’d love to know if you’re a Pinner too and what kinds of bookish pins you enjoy most?