Have you ever thought about creating a character board? Here’s guest blogger Victoria Jayne to tell you all about them….
If you don’t already know, one of the cool things about Thursdays is #ThursdayAesthetic on Twitter. This hashtag is great for writers because it gives us the opportunity to share our visual inspirations with the world
So why am I bringing up #ThursdayAesthetic? Good Question. So, aside from it just being Thursday, another thing is that I’m a visual person. I create character boards on Pinterest to help me conceptualize a story idea.
Which brings me to the topic I wanted to discuss with all of you: Character Boards. What are they and how can you use them?
Let’s start with the what. A Character Board is a collection of things that you attribute to a character you created. These can be made on cork boards, poster board, notebooks, photo albums, photo collages, and my personal favorite: Pinterest.
Now I know what you’re thinking, I used the word “things” in the definition of Character Board. How much vaguer could I be? Let me expand on “things.” It can literally be anything. Helpful. Right? Here, let’s go with an example.
My work tends to start with a scene that starts in my head. From that scene, I meet the characters, and I go to Pinterest and search for things from that image, that scene in my head. My debut novel, THE WITCH OF THE PROPHECY, has a main character who makes her money as a fortune teller. That was how she introduced herself to me. So, I went to Pinterest and I searched for images. I made a secret board and just started filling it with things about her.
This is just a small sample of what is in that board. It includes pictures that looked like her, wagons or vardos (common for Gypsies and Romani people), fortune telling images, and writing prompts, dialogue prompts, all things that made me thing Divina. The more things I found that made me think of Divina, the more I got to know her.
Everything that I included on my Divina board didn’t make it into the books in which she appears. However, with a deeper understanding of who she is, what she likes, and things she might say, I felt she came alive. She was tangible because I had reference material.
Just because I use Pinterest doesn’t mean you have to when you’re making your character boards. I don’t need any more physical stuff in my house, so I go digital whenever I can. What works for me, may not work for you so if you try this, do what works for you. You can go through magazines and clip out pictures, glue them on paper, store them in a notebook. You can tack them onto a cork board and use yarn to connect them. It could be fabric swatches, hairstyles, foods that they eat, anything really that you look at and feel your character’s presence.
My character boards help me connect with my characters. When I connect with my characters, it helps the words flow faster, smoother, and more coherently. So, on those days when I can’t get the words out, on the days where the cursor blinks at me, taunting me, I go to Pinterest and I work on my character boards. Inevitably I will stumble upon something new to add or find inspiration for the next scene I want to write.