How Pinterest Will Help You Write Your Next Novel

Because You're on Pinterest Already Anyway

5/4/2016

While you might be more used to hopping on Pinterest to find your next meal or craft project, Pinterest can also help you write your novel. For real.

As a social media platform, Pinterest is really just a way to curate content. You're familiar with link roundup posts, right? Pinterest can function similarly, but with images instead of words. Which makes it prettier and less likely to get lost in the shuffle of a blog or website, because your pins can be found in one central location: in boards on your profile.

You're also able to embed Pinterest boards into your website—which can be a cool way to provide story or series extras.

Pinterest can help you write your next novel. Here's how.

Character Inspiration

Writers have vivid imaginations, and finding the right face for your characters can often make a world of difference when you need to have a standard. Where some authors create book or series bibles filled with information about their characters (which you could do in addition to Pinterest character boards), you could choose one actor or model to represent your character.

Now you never have to remember which eye or hair color your characters have—you just have to look at your pictures. Have trouble describing the right jawbone structure or a special gleam in your character's eyes? You'll be able to find a pin for that.

Pinner who's rocking it: Sarah MacLean, historical romance author, has a board for her Rules of Scoundrels series, including which actors or models she uses for her characters.

You can also create general character inspiration boards and collect pins of interesting people. You may find that a character, or even an entire story, will grow out of a pin.

Pinner who's rocking it: Kristen Kieffer from She's Novel has a collection of character inspiration boards guaranteed to get your imagination working. Go on, sample one of her character inspiration boards.

She's Novel Character Inspiration Boards

Setting Inspiration

If you do it right, the setting of your story can become its own character. Search for pins that help you visualize where your characters are. These pins can become a mood board of sorts, putting you into the right frame of mind.

You could include other aspects of your story here too, such as clothing styles or other props central to your plot. (In a book that featured elementals and their talismans, I added these to my book's Pinterest board to help me with descriptions.)

Tip: Search "deviantart" on Pinterest and click on some of the additional search options for setting inspiration.

Story Research

Is Pinterest the new Google? Well, probably not, but you can still find plenty of articles related to your story. Writing a Regency-era book? Search "Regency era."

Behind all those pictures are articles that can help you write your novel. Regency-era slang? Yes! Common names of that time? A lifesaver! (Or at least a namesaver.) Learn different cravat knots or brush up on your stays, jumps, and corset terminology.

And rather than bookmarking all those articles in a folder on your Internet browser, you can save them to one board for easy access later, no matter which computer you're on. To become a power user, install a Pinterest browser add-on to grab articles you find through Google for your board.

Tip: Both Chrome and Firefox offer Pinterest buttons. Pinterest's browser button page automatically detects which browser you're using and lets you download the appropriate button.

Pushes in the Right Direction

If you're a writer, you know that sometimes you need a little extra push. Pinterest (or rather, the awesome pinners on Pinterest) can assist you. Whether you need prompts, advice, or motivation, Pinterest has something for you.

Writing Prompts

Prompts are made for the struggling writer. Whether stuck in the shaky beginning or the saggy middle, a writing prompt can get you moving. You can also use prompts to pen short stories that keep you in the writing groove, even when you're not working on a novel.

Tip: Search "writing prompts" and click on some of the additional search options until you find a prompt that speaks to you . . . then get writing.

Writing + Editing Advice

Don't know anything about writing? No problem! Pinterest has all the writing and editing advice you could possible want (and then some). From first chapter mistakes, to character development, to POV guidelines, you'll find articles to guide you through the writing and editing process so you end up with a polished and riveting story.

Pinner who's rocking it: Jenny Bravo of Blots & Plots has a number of writing tips and resources compiled for you.

Blots & Plots Pinterest

Motivation

Inspirational quotes abound on Pinterest. Which is good, because writers' egos are fragile and often in need of a boost. (I can say that since I'm a writer, right?) You can find motivation about getting the pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), powering through a shitty first draft, or working through an inevitable bout of doubt.

Tip: Search "writing motivation quotes" and click around until you find a quote that speaks to you. Create a special board for these motivational quotes to revisit whenever you need a pick-me-up.

How to Set Up Your Boards

Here's where it gets tough—once you decide to use Pinterest, how do you set up your boards? Do you make them private or public? How much information about your book do you share? Answers to these questions often depend on your own preference.

How frequently you use Pinterest will determine how to set up your boards. If you're only occasionally on Pinterest, then having one board for an entire series will work fine. But if you're using Pinterest to create an entire storyboard, with character and setting inspiration and research, having a board for each book makes more sense.

Likewise, you could have one board for writing advice or multiple boards that dive into different aspects of writing (e.g., character, plot, the dreaded editing process). Generally, the more pins you have, the more you'll want to separate those into boards with specific topics.

If your book is in its infancy, you might want to make your boards private. This way, you can collect as much inspiration and research as you like without flooding your followers with pins. When you're ready to share your pins with the world, you can switch the boards to public.

While you should avoid pinning anything that could be spoiler-worthy, don't be afraid to pin pictures and posts that give you and your readers a deeper look into your book. It'll be a great marketing piece later.

Writing

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Amanda Shofner

Amanda Shofner satisfies her desire for adventure with the written word and helps others do the same. Currently writing romantic suspense.

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