Monday, June 11, 2012

Writerly Things ~ Collage Me, If You Can!

These are a few of my writerly things...
On a recent visit to my friend Andrea Teagan's blog (The Enchanted Writer), I read with pleasure her post "How to Make a Story Inspiration Collage." The basic gist of the project is to make a visual representation of a current work in progress (or WIP) and have it readily visible for when you're writing and feel yourself getting a bit stuck. The instructions are simple and I remember thinking that just going through the process of making the collage would probably stir up all sorts of ideas for your WIP. My next thought was, "Hang on; I totally made one of these for my (as yet unpublished) novel, Bedeviled !

I dunno about y'all but, as I write, I tend to need firm mental images of real-life folks to fill in these sort of abstract characters who're clambering out of my head and onto paper (yes, paper, as I tend to write my first drafts longhand). They're actors, usually, though sometimes they're folks with whom I'm personally acquainted - which isn't to say I'm basing the characters on the folks, just that these are the visuals I've got when I'm writing the characters.

Anyway, at some point that I worked on Bedeviled, I felt myself stall and so I put together a collage which, I must admit, is not as grand as the collage Andrea posted on her site but worked the necessary writerly mojo for me. There are two panels to this collage, which I've scanned and elaborated upon, below. My character's names come first (followed by the names of the dudes I visualize as I write, in parentheses).

Clockwise from the top: Ardos (Thomas Gibson); some random beach, somewhere; Father Gianni (William Hurt); me and my Sis on a wintry Robert Moses Beach, Long Island, NY; Gavin (Gerard Butler); and Mike (Samuel West).

Clockwise from the upper left: Cadzick (John Cusack); me and my Sis on her alma mater's campus (I envision this space as belonging to the chapel in my story); Gabe (Matthew McConaughey); Rafe (my friend, singer-songwriter Tama Waipara); a snippet from some magazine which perfectly summarized the basic themes of the story; a clawed hand belonging to no one in far as I know.

I've been thinking of Bedeviled as a supernatural thriller for quite some time but, lately, have desired to take it in more of a romantic direction - which is to say, rather than starting with the Main Character's love life at its crisis point (and having very little interaction between her and her fella except for the beginning and end of the tale), I want to tell the same crazy story while also showing the developing relationship between Madeleine (my main chick) and Gavin (her main squeeze). So, yeah; I've a fair bit of revising to do (and then some - what I've got in mind is a gargantuan process which will undoubtedly take me all summer to complete). Am I daunted? Hells, yeah. Can I make it happen? Sho, 'nuff. Probably. (God willing!)


  1. That's a pretty cool idea! I have been stalled out for a little while on my novel and if I stay stuck, I'm going to try this. Sounds like you're getting re-inspired on Bedeviled. Funny how our stories take on a life of their own isn't it?

  2. That's a great idea to do a collage to assist in your writing. Crafters always advise that we cut out pictures from catalogs and magazines and put them in an inspiration book. Never thought about it for writers, but it makes perfect sense. It's like that commercial running now about how people's photographs have helped Ron Howard put together a film, and they show him pondering a bulletin board full of different photos.

  3. @Tracy - I need to get back to Bedeviled, that's for sure, and summertime's the best time to have at it!

    @JoJo - The idea certainly resonated with me, as I'm very visually oriented (though I can't make things that are "visually" beautiful to save my life!). I think I've seen that commercial you mention - movie-makers tell stories visually, so it totally makes sense that they'll be inspired by what they see. :-)

  4. Love the literary collage idea! And I love that you write your first drafts by hand!! I still love to write certain things by hand rather than on some sort of device... just seems to come easier for ideas in certain situations.

  5. Thanks for the shout out, Mina!!

    I love the collage that you made. Very inspirational! I especially like the quote you included as well. Your story sounds really good too! :)


  6. You are almost at 100 followers.. Squeee!!

  7. well I mean there is much to be said for it but I have enough trouble writing the bloody thing as it is without having the excuse of having to make vusual character thingys..

  8. visual - that was meant to be visual

  9. @a.eye - It feels right for me when I do creative stuff, though I've experimented with first-drafting on my PC - it's scarier to me that way, for some weird reason!

    @Andrea - thanks, lady! I'm like the proverbial feline on the roof, wondering when (if!) that number'll hit 100! :-D

    @David - Nobody has to, of course. We do what works for us, don't we? ;-)

  10. I've heard of doing this before and I think it's a great idea. Maybe I need to give it a try :)

  11. As a visual writer, doing a collage, storyboard (can you say Pinterest?) works well for me. For those who are NOT visual, they may need to take a different tack.

    Think big - think not just actors/characters, but wardrobes, BEDS (hey, I write sex), restaurants. I always need to SEE the scene in my head before I write it. Looking forward to reading more and finding how it's working for you. :-)

  12. I sort of do this with my character descriptions, but not as elaborate. I think it's an excellent exercise.

  13. Thanks, Heather, Beverly, and Mina - it's fun to experiment with stuff, see what kindles a spark (and what doesn't!). Given that I do want to fluff out the romance a bit, I have to think less "claws" and more "woof!" (That idea translates, right???) :-)

  14. Cool to see your inspiration. I love to see John Cusack. Love him.

    1. Thanks for popping by, Theresa. PS: I picked up a copy of Fangtales - look forward to reading your story!


C'mon, post a comment. All the cool kids do.