Pinterest: an Authors Tool

Do you struggle to find inspiration for a new story or plot line or a blog?
I’m not talking about writers block. I’m talking about just needing that edge to move your story forward or to put a twist into it. Or maybe you need to help to describe something and you can’t quite visualize it on your own.
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What you need to realize is inspiration is all around you. Whether it be walking through art show or walking through Museum, inspiration is everywhere waiting for you to take notice. Think about it; the artist has already pinpointed the focus of the piece, they’ve even had it framed. The saying “writing is painting with words” comes to mind when I think of how these pictures have help inspire me.
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Most of us heard of Pinterest and probably used it . But it is also a great tool for the writer. For example, if you go to my storyboards, you’ll find I have storyboards for every book I’ve written, and every book I plan to write.   I drop pictures onto my board to help me keep hold of an idea, sometimes for a plot twist or an interesting fact about a character. I can go back and reuse these pictures. They can spike an idea help me describe the location, person or they can help me expand on something I already thought about.
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But before there was Pinterest, there was something called a magazine. You could find magazines everywhere. If you found you couldn’t afford to buy them, a trip to the library and would give you the opportunity to look through them. Travel, cooking, fashion, sports, hunting, the list of magazines goes on.  If you found inspiration about something new to you, the information was right in front of you.
The work of other people can give you inspiration as well. I was walking through the art gallery and I came upon a picture of a small little inlet, palm trees swaying boats bobbing in the water and a rustic old shack at the beaches edge. It was perfect for what I was thinking about. I hadn’t realized what I was looking for until I saw that picture. Getting permission from the art gallery, I snapped a quick picture and then I made notes. I would never post that picture because belongs to somebody else. Not without their permission, but it was enough to inspire me and get me over the hump.
So where have you gotten your latest inspiration from? Something you saw on the news, something you read in a magazine, or something you saw on Pinterest? Wherever you get your inspiration, don’t be afraid to run with it. However, I caution you to make sure you are not interfering with anybody else’s copy rights to the picture and you’re only using it for your own inspiration. If you need to use a picture in something you plan to post or promote with and you haven’t taken your self, pay to use it! Lawsuits are a serious problem, and besides, it’s the right thing to do! There are many sites you can purchase photos from, I use Shutter Stock.
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If writing is like painting with words, then find your inspiration and begin writing.
Paint the picture for your readers.

 

Your Book Cover Is So Important

I think I’m safe in saying that every writer feels a special sense of excitement when it’s time to start picking out the illustrations to be used to express the feeling and story of your book. 

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There’s an excitement as you’re writing. You keep the little things in the back your mind; this scene would look good, or, that character needs to be enhanced on the cover. Throughout the writing process your mind is constantly thinking of what is going to look good enough to catch a reader’s eye and hopefully get them to buy your book. Which phrase was catchy enough in the book to be used in your promotional blurb prompting someone to open the book up and read your words? If you’re writing a series, what is going to make the series look unique, but let each book have a distinctive cover?

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For me, I knew exactly which scene in all of my books I was going to use on the cover. There was just something that popped up and said “this is it!” Even before all the words were written, I knew on all three books what was going to be on the cover of my book. Now, not at all writers follow that process. Many of them pick multiple scenes and create multiple covers before deciding on the one that they really want. They get feedback from other writers and friends on what looks the best. To a certain point, so do I, but I’ve followed my natural instinct more than I do anything else. If it speaks to me, then I hope it’s going to speak to others.

I’m also realistic, and I know my limitations. I’m not an artist, and even though I love to take pictures, I’m not a photographer. This is when I call in the professionals. I picked out the scene, I have a vague idea of what I want to accomplish on my cover and then I turn it over to my illustrator. As a writer, it’s good to know your limitations and talents. If you are a writer that is multiply talented and can write and draw than you are in a league of your own. For the rest of us, we are writers. So, it’s only common sense to delegate something so important to a professional.

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Also, there’s nothing wrong with going back sometime in the future and redoing your covers, updating them or giving them a new look. This is especially important if you’re writing a series. Times change and your whole attitude and outlook on the series may differ from when you originally started. I know after just three books that there are a couple of things I’d like to change on my very first cover. But I’ll wait until I get three or four books ready to be sold as a set, and then I’ll do a complete cover change. By keeping the parts I really like and changing the things that need a bit of tweaking, I will be able to keep the look of my books fresh. Of course if you your book is one that will withstand the test of time, and be easily recognized for years, then don’t touch a thing.

And while we’re talking about covers – don’t forget your title must show up on the cover and grab the reader’s eye. Your name is just as important – because if they don’t remember you, then readers are not going to be looking for your next book.

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The point I’m trying to make is that your cover is an exciting part of your book. It should be given just as much care and consideration as the words that you put on the pages.