Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seeing My Story

As you probably noticed from my last post on Make Mine Mystery, I’m a visual learner.  And as such, its glimpses into a new reality that get me thinking about plot and story. 

Attending the RWA (Romance Writers of America) National convention last year in New York City, my writing buddy and I both circled to attend Jenny Cruise’s presentation on vision boards or collaging. 

I’d never hear Ms. Cruise speak before and I wasn’t disappointed by my choice.  When I arrived home, I went to Big Lots and bought an 11x8 canvas, thinking it would make an excellent base for my vision board.

I was wrong. 

You can’t staple things to the canvas.  Tape won't stick to the material.  I got these three random things to stick to the canvas.  The problem is the pictures represent three different stories.  

I even tried gluing and decopauging materials to the canvas with various decrees of luck.  I tried to make a poster board for a table I hosted for a breast cancer fundraiser with limited luck with the decoupage. 

After talking with a fellow writer on line, I solved my dilemma. 

I stapled a paper backing to the canvas.  (I probably could have bought poster board cheaper, but I have these two canvases that I need to use. Yes, I’m that girl.  I made hot pot holders from plywood and bottle tops in the seventies for gifts.  My mom wouldn’t let me give them away because there were too many beer bottle tops represented.  She thought it revealed a bit too much about our family dynamics.   I thought they were cool.)

I used old Christmas wrapping paper, but you could use brown paper, grocery bags, or pages from old magazines, which gives you your first layer of plot ideas for the vision board.

Once you have a base for your vision board, you tape, glue, staple cut outs from magazines, photos, even advertisements that remind you of the story.  Even if you don’t quite know what the stories about.

Once it feels done, step back.  (I know, some of you are saying  - Lynn’s gone into the woo-woo factor. But bear with me.)

Now really look at the vision you and your muse have come up with for the story.  Got it? Then write the story. 

My current WIP is set in fictional Mountain Springs, Idaho. So the snow ladened trees, mountains and even the lake, makes me think of home.  My heroine is a caterer that’s refurbishing an old house.  I was pleased to find a picture of my hero, kind, but scruffy.  My vision board, like my outline is missing some things, but they’ll come around.  And so will my story.  

Has anyone else used a vision board to gel ideas before starting to write?  How have you designed your visual representation of your story?  


RT Wolfe said...

Your setting sounds so beautiful. I bet you are privy to it in your own back yard!
Lovely post,
R.T. Wolfe

Lynn Cahoon said...

Actually - my wip is set in Idaho -a long way from my current back yard. BUT one thing I love about my house is the woods running behind the fence. And so do the deer and racoons. :)

Thanks for stopping in RT.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've never done a story board or cut out any pictures. I can see the people and my settings in my head--probably because I've been writing about both for such a long time.

Morgan Mandel said...

That vision board is really great!
I'm afraid I have no room for one, so I'll have to make do with notes about description, so I don't forget who looks like what.

Morgan Mandel

Lynn Cahoon said...

Marilyn, I was surprised at how quickly I found pictures that had the 'feel' of the story. I carry the voices with me, more than the faces, so having the canvas on the desk reminds me to drop in a few of those descriptors every now and then.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Morgan - My mentor uses index cards. She tried to train me in her method, but it didn't work as well as the rip and tear visual. :)

Veronica Scott said...

I think we all have to use whatever methods works for us. When I'm writing one of my Ancient Egyptian paranormals, I sometimes look through all the reference books of fabulous photos and get inspired...enjoyed the post!