Write Sharper Stories With Pinterest and Evernote

This week is shaping up to be a very fine example of why medicine is sometimes necessary. Shout out to my lousy insurance that, despite claiming it wants to do everything it can to help me manage my illness, actually covers none of my medication. But, that’s why I write to help me escape the crazy of whatever this (as I point around to my messy living room and the bag of Frito’s I’m nursing) is. As I’ve mentioned before, I love using Pinterest to help me write. But, there’s one unfortunate downside to that: you can’t rearrange pins without deleting, copying, or moving them to a different board! Collecting things that represent a character is possible, but tracking how they change over the span of your story isn’t.

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Unless you take the proverbial horse by the reins and lead it to a grid. I use a third website, Pixlr, to make easy photo grids that turn mood boards into storyboards. They keep my writing flowing, help details pop, and concrete the story in my mind. First, for those of you unfamiliar with Evernote, it’s a wonderful platform that has really changed how I write.

I use Evernote for five main reasons:

  1. It’s so streamlined  – there’s no distractions, just big open space for me to rapidly dump my ideas.
  2. It’s literally the best repository – I save links, articles, photos, outlines – everything related to my story, it’s all right there.
  3. It’s everywhere – Before, my ideas would be in one notebook or another, or trapped on my external hard drive. Evernote it on my tablet, my phone, and everywhere else. It follows my inspiration.
  4. I can tag my notes – my story and all related to it is in the same notebook, but say I want things only related to Chapter One. They’re tagged, and all I have to do is view that tag.
  5. I can work faster – The shortcut feature lets me star the things I’m working on at present. So, if I’m typing a scene, I can add a shortcut to get me back to my scene with one click.

Now that you’re sold on Evernote, let’s work on that photo grid.

My grid is made up of six images that help me visualize the world my characters will live in. It’s a nameless city for now, but seeing it makes things easier to describe, from the warm yellow glare of headlights  to the hazy orange of city lights. Look at the textures of the city, the long reflections on the road, the ribbing on the sweater. I can almost picture rust on the fire escape, rain drops slowly trailing down the cool window. To prove my method, I’m posting my first scene (or at least the first bit I feel okay-ish about). You can read it here. Comments, suggestions, and advice are most welcome!

The story, content, and writing is copyright protected. Please do not steal or alter without express permission from me.

Doing this has also changed things that I felt pretty securely about. My main character’s appearance has changed from my first impression, as has the main conflict of the story! What’s even better about using Pinterest and Evernote together is that I can place my grids right into Evernote. So my boards on Pinterest that gather my visual inspiration now match with my words and vice versa.

That doesn’t mean I’ve solved it all, though. I still could use tons of advice on some points I’ve been back and forth on. Namely how to decide between first person or a narrative point of view, and how to choose character names. What are your favorite resources? Lay ’em on me, people!

Here’s to a productive Tuesday!

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