If there’s one thing every writer needs: it’s Pinterest.
Oh hush. Silly people might wax poetic about research, engaging in life experiences, learning to edit, reading copiously, and listening to the world and etc. etc. whatever. But those are all small little butterflies upon the wind. What you really need, when writing a novel, is to create the perfectly most aesthetically pleasing pinterest board. Then all your troubles will go away.
Today I’m going to show you how to make one. Because I’m KIND. * And for this grand tutorial, all you need is (1) a pinterest account, and (2) hours of your life you’re totally happy to throw into the void.
ARE WE GOOD TO GO? YES WE ARE.
Oh wait. You should probably follow me. 10/10 is worth it.
* I had to put “kind” in all caps so you would all believe me because I swear I AM KIND and you need to repeat that to yourselves as I demonstrate how dark and stabby my novel aesthetics are as we enter this post. Am I sweating nervously? Ha ha of course not.
I find making pinterest storyboards is extremely helpful to make up for my lack of imagination. You think I’m kidding right? WELL WRONG. I can’t visualise things hardly at all. My family likes to give me detailed explanations of this movie they saw and I’m like “BLANK BLANK BLANK oh I saw a photo of that actor once BLANK BLANK BLANK”. My brain is super helpful. All the time.
So while I’ll have a vague idea in my head of how I want my novel to look, I’ll go on Pinterest and get inspired for settings and costumes. I look up 18th century Parisian attire and know how to describe it better. I’ll figure out how to put my castle in the air. Best yet: I’ll see something completely random like a super nice tree and then rewrite my entire book to fit that in because #aesthetic.
And of course all we writers flap about complaining about how Pinterest DRAINS OUR LIFE AND FREE TIME and that’s its fault. Not ours. But there is one important thing we need to acknowledge: you cannot be an artist who puts out art again and again and again, without taking art in. You eat = you get energy from food. It’s the same with art! So while I might be “wasting time” putting together a storyboard in some snide gumnut’s eyes…I’m actually filling my head with beautiful art that inspires me. THERE IS ONLY WIN HERE.
Let us get started!
And it obviously goes without saying that you can make your pinterest boards anyway you freakishly please. My post is about making themed and aesthetic boards. But you!! can!! do!! pinterest!! however!! you!!! like!!!!!
Create a new board!
I put “WIP” in front of my boards to signify “work in progress” but you can do whatever. You can also just say “Untitled Idea #1” if you’re afraid someone will pinch your titles. I have literally no care these days about potential pinching, because if someone pinterest worm is going to steal my title, what’s the chance of them becoming a Famous Bestselling Author before me? NOT VERY. I SHALL BE FAMOUS AT DAWN. *
Some people also start their boards off as “Secret”.
I do not because I’m vain and want people to admire my boards straight away. Also you CAN switch back and forth from secret any time you want!
* Not this dawn but the next. Or the one after. Look it’s a working progress here, and dawn and I are having serious discussions, okay??
Now you’ve got your board it’s time to THINK.
Be careful with this step because I don’t want you injuring yourself. Thinking is not easy for all.
Before I start looking for pins I like to have a good idea of (1) the style, (2) the theme, and (b) the colours.
The colours are actually the thing that will make your board look aesthetic SO BE FIRM. If it ain’t the right colour/tone/feel it doesn’t go on.
Which fully sucks sometimes. I admit. But, like I say: do what you want with a board. But if you want the aesthetic look, you’ll need to make sacrifices. Hence I often don’t pin a lot of people who totally match my characters because they’re rarely in the right clothes.
OTHER THINGS I’LL DECIDE:
- what is the general feel of the book…like icy mountains or warm cosy houses?
- what race/ethnicity will my characters be
- what are the settings (ie: water, ships, castles, forests)
- what genre is it
- what style of clothes are they going to wear (ie: queenly dresses, jeans and tee shirts, medieval garb)
- how much blood shall i splatter everywhere
I usually have had my story idea for a while before starting my pinterest. I like to say “well this idea just got REAL” when I finally cave and create the pinterest board.
The trick is: build a board FOR your book. Not build a board to FIND your book. By all means = be inspired by pinterest and add in things you hadn’t thought of earlier. But the key to writing is staying exciting about what you’re working on. I personally think this happens when the idea is WHOLLY YOURS and not something cobbled together from pinterest.
Okay this is the golden question: “WHERE DO I FIND THE RIGHT PINS, CAIT??”
Because it’s all very well to know you want a snowy aesthetic board full of owls and white dresses and badass queens — but where do you get them from?! #halp
There are, actually, so many ways to find pins and I shall show you DOZENS. Sit tight.
FINDING PINS METHOD #1:
You follow other writers and fill your feed with their stuff and ergo steal it all.
I actually have no idea who I’m following after being here for like 4 years, but whatever. Here are some recommendations to get you started. And click on these boards to go to their accounts:
You can also go scroll through the 300+ other people I follow. But why, fren. I need to do a clean out but also #no.
FINDING PINS METHOD #2:
Go search. This is one thing I rarely do because the results are never specific enough. And I sometimes don’t know WHAT I want until I’ve found it, you know?
FINDING PINS METHOD #3:
Go searching for related pins. HONESTLY my favourite method. And because I have a have collected pins for 4+ years, I find it easy to find at least a starting off pin. But you can search for one, or snabble it off someone else’s board, or whatever.
So first I find the beginning pin. Then click on it. Then SCROLL DOWN — and suddenly I have 50+ pins that pinterest deems are related. Like aesthetically pleasing cousins, bless them.
And then you have all the boards that lead from those related pins to explore!
FINDING PINS METHOD #4:
Another way to find related pins is, when you click on the original photo, look below and see the other THOUSANDS OF BOARDS that photo has been pinned to. Chances are, some of them are going to have more like it. Chances are, you suddenly need to go through 7.4K boards.
I did mention black hole, did I not?
So much black hole.
OMG THE PRETTY. EXCUSE ME WHILE I TAKE A BREAK FROM THIS TUTORIAL AND PIN. [insert heart eyes here]
FINDING PINS METHOD #5:
Now if you’re a reader, you better be a bookworm too. And due to the internet being full of enthusiastic fangirls, they’ve already done our work for us. BOOK AESTHETIC BOARDS, OKAY?!?!? THEY’RE AMAZING. Simply figure out what actual published books are similar to yours and then go see if some glorious fan has made a fan-board for it.
My favourites to look up tend to be The Raven Cycle and Six of Crows. But you could look up Cinder if you’re looking for some sci-fi pins, or An Ember in the Ashes if you’re looking for Roman-esque desert fantasy worlds, or Shadowhunters if you want some paranormal creatures.
So very very helpful to have someone gathering aesthetics for me already.
- I don’t recommend 100% raiding someone’s board. Because even if it’s cool, it’s not necessarily keeping true to YOUR story. Pretty pins are excellent, but it gets overwhelming when you’re pinning black crows and your book doesn’t have black crows but you wanted it for #aesthetic and then your story starts getting jumbled in your head.
- So just raid their boards, like, 90%. Especially if they’re excellent because holy grapes. Wow.
- Don’t use pinterest to procrastinate. Dooooon’t. It’ll just make you SAD later on. Use it to build your board, get inspired, and devour the art with your puny little eyeballs.
- Don’t freak out if you can’t find the right faces for your characters. I basically don’t even bother with faces anymore. Like why not just have faceless blobs? It’s lovely. If you find yourself spending more time looking for perfect faces than actually developing the character — you are procrastinating, son.
- Do NOT take the photos off pinterest and edit them! This is stealing, fiends. I know lots of people do, but lots of people also eat marmalade and die. You don’t want to be like them. If you also use these photos on your blog, no matter if you leave a link, it’s still technically a copyright infringement. Better to embed the whole board onto your blog or take a full screenshot that shows it’s a pinterest board (so with your name logo there and link it all to your pinterest account). If you say “taken from pinterest” you’re literally saying “I know you made this sandwich but I’m still going to eat it” and that’s not nice.
- Remember the most important rule, if you want it to be aesthetic: COLOURS AND TONE AND STYLES.
- Remember me when you’re rich and famous for your glorious aesthetic boards. Because, you know, I’m raising you right, my darlings.