Monday 16 April 2018

Using Pinterest to Help Write Your Story

By Marilyn Forsyth

Image courtesy of giphy (Love you, Phoebe!)

In case you weren’t aware, I love Pinterest! What writer couldn’t love a site that might well be the world’s most accessible medium for educational resources for authors?

In my last post I mentioned that part of my creative process is to make a Pinterest board for the story I’m working on—a visual representation of my book. But the role of Pinterest in my writing begins way before I even start a book.

Here’s how I go about using Pinterest to help write a story:

1. Story Inspiration

Image courtesy of Haunted Earth's Ghost World

My story ideas come from many different sources—things I’m passionate about (Art, medieval history, travelling), unexplained mysteries, unique locations… The list goes on.  Just by typing ‘unique locations’ into Pinterest I’ve found a wealth of amazing settings to inspire my writing, as well as some other inspiring 'finds', like this one (which could be the ghost from my wip). 

 As for characters, just type in ‘character inspiration’ and you’ll find hundreds of boards filled with interesting-looking characters. I recommend Kristen Kieffer, who has a huge collection of images. It’s an excellent source for headshots to begin your storyboard.

2. Planning

In my ‘Writing Life’ board I’ve saved sixty or so resources to be inspired by, to motivate me or to help me improve my writing.

Like to use worksheets? I guarantee you’ll find a worksheet for whatever you need. Can’t think of a word to describe a character’s voice, take a look at Jami Gold’s Word Lists. Looking for ideas for plot twists? Click here

3. Character Development

Image courtesy of Book Riot

When developing my characters, I need to know all there is to know about them. To help with their backstories, I firstly check out the different personality types. There are a heap of boards that focus on the Myers-Briggs types, as well as character archetypes. I found this site concise and helpful:

4. Settings

A quick tip: when searching for images of settings, include a + for more specific visuals. For example, ambulance station + interior, Kidwelly castle + landscape photography, quaint café + Cardiff.

5. Writing the First Draft

Okay, so now I’ve got a setting and my main characters have made their appearance in my head (physical description, backstory). Unfortunately, Pinterest won’t write the story for me 😜, but once I’ve worked out my characters’ Goals, Motivations and Conflict, I’m ready to start that first draft.

6. Covers

An oldie but a goodie

Harlequin MIRA and Escape ask their authors for suggestions for the cover of their books, so I collect covers that appeal to me to keep as a reference.

7. Writing Advice

Natasha Lester, Author (author of The Paris Seamstress) has some great tips and advice on her 'How to Write a Book' board. Click on the link and check it out.

8. Blog Posts

Screenshot of my board

I recently started adding my blog posts to my ‘The Writing Life’ board.

Legal stuff

In my last post I mentioned the importance of having the P button on my dashboard which allows me to instantly add any image on the net to any of my boards. As all images added to Pinterest are directly linked to their original site, if I unknowingly pin or re-pin a copyrighted image I get a message telling me it’s been removed.

Do you have any favourite boards on Pinterest? Let me know; I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration.

Love to Love: designing a promo for my blog post with Lumen 5. (A time suck, but great fun!)

Love to Laugh: at this Instant Elevator Pitch. For a readable copy click here to try it yourself. My pitch reads: "A compulsively readable thriller about a dissatisfied woman's mission to embrace her eating disorder" (what the ???).

Love to Learn: Victoria L Fry has a YouTube video entitled The Power of Pinterest for Authors. It’s 40 minutes but she’s very informative and easy to listen to. 


  1. I Love Pinterest but I have to be careful otherwise I spend hours on there. lol. I love seeing other authors boards and of course doing ones up for my own books. Which reminds me I must do one up for this current WIP. Thanks for a lovely blog post.

    1. Hi Cassandra. I love your boards for The Scandalous Wager and The Collector of Hearts. Seeing images of your characters really brings them to life for me. I know what you mean about losing yourself on Pinterest - it's just so damn interesting!

  2. Love this post, Marilyn. My storyboards are magazine pictures on cardboard but for my next story I will try Pinterest.

    1. I hope I've convinced you to give it a go, Enisa. I'm sure you'll love it!

  3. Thanks for another interesting post, Marilyn, and for the great links. I used Pinterest for "Echoes of the Heart"; "Roses for Sophie" and "The Defiant Princess" (remember the latter as I found a delicious model who I envisaged as my hero "Khalid" from that story!!), but then I fell out of the way of it for the last four novels. Must get back into the groove for the next one!
    Do you also use Pinterest for snapshots of all your exciting overseas holidays or tend to stick to Facebook to post those wonderful photos?

    1. Hi Alyssa! Hope you find the links useful. I don't use Pinterest for my travel photos but it's not a bad idea. Thanks for that!

  4. Love this. The equivalent of previous ‘inspirational’ folders with torn out pictures and such. I’m still using Pinterest for bathroom reno ideas, and also sheet music. Really, it’s a visual resource for anything! I’m going to investigate a few more of the particular things you suggest. Thanks Marilyn!

    1. Hi Malvina! Pinterest really is a great resource for anyone on anything. Hope you find some of the links of interest to you.

  5. Thanks Marilyn, I'll have to try Pinterest. I especially liked your suggestions re character inspiration and Jamie Gold's word lists.

    1. Hi Sharon! Be warned: Pinterest is highly addictive. :) I hope you find those links useful.


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