Expanding on living documents

Hi gang, Craig here again. I’ve written about my living documents here before. You can check out this post from 2016. I’m still a big believer in living documents, but it’s become more of an expanded library now.

Turns out, these don’t have to be limited to documents. My story boards are living documents, in a way. They evolve slowly, and I harvest them when they’re ripe. You can read more about story boarding here.

My newest one is Pinterest. I know we’re supposed to use everything for promotion, but I find that tiresome. It’s also overlooking some genuine value in the format.

I started off making book specific boards. Those are helpful when it comes time to write a story. Maybe there is a setting, or car, or something you want to use in the tale. It’s nice to have a reference point or two.

Then it occurred to me that I could work ahead. I created the “stuff” boards. These are limited to science fiction stuff, paranormal stuff, and fantasy stuff. They’re great places to visit before you start a storyboard. I know I’m going to need a creepy monster, so I go back and scroll through to see what catches my eye.

Having a focused board or two is easier than just searching when I need something. I’ve already vetted them to a degree back when I added them to the board.

Recently it’s been Extreme Earth photos, elderly characters, kid characters, etc. These are just good points of reference for future stories. I started one called Locations and Settings, with lonely motels, billiard rooms, and street markets.

The advantage is to having vetted them ahead of time. When I return to these boards for a specific need, I won’t have to glean through the universe of Pinterest, and will have a cluster of things I already found possibility in.

I’m going to make more boards too. Sometimes you need thugs, redshirts, places to hide a body, etc.

One of the great things about Pinterest is that it’s available to the public. The documents I created, and my story boards are only available to me, but others can check out these boards if they need inspiration too. Feel free to check out mine if you like: Entertaining Stories.

The whole point is that you can do this too. Pinterest is a great way to start. My stories always come to me as vignettes first. Eventually, I begin a storyboard. Maybe I refer to one of my living documents for one of the Seven Basic Plots that Staci taught us about. When the board is ripe, I can refer to Pinterest for many of the elements I want to use within the story.

How about it, gang? Could you find some advantage in working ahead like this? It’s basically just squirreling things away for future use.

36 thoughts on “Expanding on living documents

  1. Pingback: No Wonder People Don’t Plot – Judi Lynn

  2. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  3. This is a great idea. The best thing about it is that it’s for my eyes only. I am the only one that gets it. I’m a visual person. Songs, photos and so on. I could see this working for me. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I tend to use Pinterest in spurts, but I know I’m not using it effectively. I tried to use it for my novels before, but I hated that I couldn’t organize the pins within the board. Then I kind of stopped using it for that.

    There’s a new resource (or new to me) that looks promising for storyboarding. If it works out, I’ll share.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I could absolutely use this! There are so many times something will catch my eye and I’ll squirrel it away for later (article, idea, photo, etc) but I don’t have a singular place to keep all of that. Pieces are in notebooks, other pieces in email, still others in folders on my computer. When I’m working on a story I keep a photo file but I build it as I go, and that involves going through a ton of photos online before I find what I want. It would be great just to hop over to Pinterest and pull up say, a shot of an old railroad bed or an abandoned house. I love this idea, Craig!

    BTW, the Blue Lady in Cusp of Night came from an online article I had read and saved for approximately two years before using it. The article was about the blue people of Kentucky. I knew that someday I had to tuck that thread in a story.

    Liked by 3 people

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