We are just days away from National Novel Writing Month if you are having trouble visualizing your characters or finding them a home don’t worry help is available. You don’t need to invest in fancy or expensive tools just go window shopping on Pinterest and build yourself a virtual collage or bulletin board to help you get into character and dress up their environment. To see how this might work, I used Pinterest to create a Character Board for Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is an online community of pictures (some with links) that you can “pin” to boards. Boards are like your virtual bulletin board just like that old corkboard we all have on the wall next to our desks filled with mementos of our lives. Using Pinterest, you can create those same pin-up mementos for your NaNo characters so that when you are stumped with what to write next glance at your character’s Pinterest board and see some inspiration that made you want to write about them in the first place.
Here are a few hints for using Pinterest to visualize your NaNo novel’s world:
First: Decide if You Want Share or Hide Your Boards
Whether you want to share your board or keep them private, you can do it in Pinterest, but the trick is that it is easiest to do when you are setting up the board.
– Fill in the Name, Description and Category as normal.
– To share your board: you don’t need to do anything (that’s the default).
– To hide your board: Slide the Secret tab to the right so that you see “Yes” instead of “No”. This will make the board private so only you can see it.
– Click the “Create Board” button.
Second: Brainstorming with NaNo Buddies
Even if you have decided to make your Pinterest board private, you can still edit the board to invite others to add pins to it. This is a great way to get help from your NaNo buddies and share your NaNo experience with others. Only you can write your novel, but inspiration can come from many sources so don’t be afraid to reach out to your buddies for input.
– Go to the top right hand corner of Pinterest and click your Pinterest name/icon.
– Click on the drop down option “Your Boards” to see all the boards you have on Pinterest.
– Click the “Edit” button at the bottom of the board thumbnail.
– In the “Who can pin?” field, enter the email address of the person you’d like to invite to pin to your board. Be sure to click the “Invite” button after each email address you enter.
– Click “Save Changes.”
Third: Finding Items to Pin to Your Board
There are several ways to “pin” pictures to your boards.
– Using the Home Page:
- When you log into Pinterest your home page will fill up with pictures. Simply scroll down the page until you find a picture that interests you. Hover over the picture and click the “Pin It” button.
- The “Repin a Pin” pop-up box will appear allowing you to select the appropriate board and even update the description.
- Click “Pin it” again. And you’re done!
- Note: You can also publicize your pins/boards to Facebook & Twitter so make sure those settings are on/off as appropriate when pinning items to boards. (If you don’t want to share items don’t link Pinterest to Facebook or Twitter and they will be unchecked by default.)
– Using the Search box:
- If you are looking for something specific the fastest way to find it might be using the Search box in the top left hand corner of the Pinterest page. Enter your search term and hit “Enter” to refresh your Pinterest page with new photo based on your search.
- Follow the same directions as the Home Page to Repin items to your boards.
– Using the Categories box:
- To the left of the Search box click on the Category icon.
- In the drop down menu, click on the category that interests you and your Pinterest page will refresh with pictures based on that topic.
I hope that you make it to the NaNo finish line this year. Remember the journey is half the fun and using Pinterest you might find some great NaNo writing mementos along the way!