When I sat down to write my second book, Origin of Ryn, I knew the audience was going to be teen fantasy readers.
It was different from my first book in the fact that when I wrote, Adeline and the Mystic Berries, I pictured the characters drawn out on paper in my head. I immediately got my sketchbook out and started sketching what I envisioned them to look like. You can see my preliminary sketches for the book in my Portfolio.
With, Origin of Ryn, Ryn is seventeen years old at the start. All of the other characters are in their upper teens or early twenties. When I pictured them, I saw people in my head. You don’t often see teen books with illustrated covers like you do for children’s books. Wanting to have a clearer picture of who I was writing, I set my sights on a little website called Pinterest.
I’ve used Pinterest for many things before: creating Pin Boards of my favorite crochet patterns from other crafters; food recipes that look divine which I may want to cook up in the future; and even ideas for crafts to do later on. One thing I had never used it for, however, was to look up people.
One of the authors I enjoy reading is A.G. Howard, the author of the Splintered series, a dark take on an Alice in Wonderland universe story. On her Pinterest page, she has Pin Boards for each of her characters with images of people that fit the bill for what she imagined her characters to look like.
I thought, why not do the same for Ryn’s story?
I started looking up people and created a Pin Board, “People Who Deserve a Story.” Whether or not the people I selected would be inspiration for Ryn’s story or a future story, I collected them all like secret treasures on that Pin Board. I created another Pin Board that was “Book Location Ideas.” Any amazing image of a location I could see being written into a book, not just Ryn’s story, I added to this Board.
In the future, a collage of images for certain worlds, or settings, would be really helpful in being able to describe them to readers. Even if you pull only elements of one image or another, having them all compiled in one place, is extremely helpful.
I just started using Scrivener for this book to try out, instead of Microsoft Word which has been my usual platform for writing. I’m excited to use their feature where you can create character profiles. This feature also allows you to put pictures in as well as notes on each character.
Scrivener allows you to use a split screen option where you can have your manuscript up on one side and your research, character profiles, and images up on the other. This way, when you are needing a little bit of inspiration on a character or setting, you can just glance over at the collections you’ve made and use those to help you write better descriptions!
Whether you use Pinterest, or create collections of photos, character profiles, names, etc. on another site, or even on a piece of paper, having something to reference when you are thinking of your characters can be extremely helpful in staying true to your vision. You don’t have to be able to draw to have a tangible representation of your characters.
How do you keep the details of your characters straight? Do you create character profiles or have collages of pictures?