So, my first draft of my next book is finally done. It still needs a good amount of editing before I can send it off to my readers, so I am behind on schedule. I did manage to finish the actual first draft on time though! 😀
I tried out a few different techniques and things during the writing of this story, because I saw bits of advice from other blogs and writing sites and I’m always up for giving new techniques and advice a try, so I did.
One thing that I found really worked for me, much more than I ever thought it would, was the use of visual aids and reference. Now, I know I’ve talked about Pinterest and other similar tools as useful resources for writers, but I usually only use that for gaining sparks of inspiration. This time I actually printed off pictures and photos of things that would be useful to my story.
I do keep character notes and such in my notebook, referring back to them as needed, but in general my imagination is one of my best tools and I am great at picturing things in my head with clarity. This time though I did as advised, and I ‘cast’ my book with actors and printed off character sheets with photos, also with pictures of anything useful relating to the characters such as outfits, objects, expressions, etc, that would provide visual aid whilst writing.
Same with setting, I printed off maps, found pictures of what the place used to look like. I mean, I had those sorted out anyway, due to the fact it was a historical piece. Yet having them to hand to look at what buildings were really like, or the layout of a room made a massive difference.
Spreading out these printed sheets around me whilst writing was so incredibly useful, I wish I had been doing it for every time I have done writing! I felt fully immersed in the story, with photos and sketches of the place, and having the characters right there surrounding me and I didn’t have to break my writing flow in order to go look up a map, or have a glance at outfits from the time on the computer. It was all there ready for me.
Though my imagination is great, being able to glance to a character sheet and see exactly what the outfit was inspired by, or look to the photo of the place its set and get a sense for how it felt, instead of just using my imagination helped push my story that much further to becoming something better!
The visual aid sheets I made, though had photos and sketches, I had also added a lot of text information, such as how the outfit would have felt to wear, what characteristics they had, what their motivations were, how they were going to develop throughout the story. Also, how the setting would have been, what smells there were, how the heat would have felt.
Everything I needed was in one place on these sheets, rather than spread out in notes throughout my notebook or saved in files on my computer.
A lot of you may already do this, and I am probably a late-comer to the party! 😀 Yet, for some reason, I have always found using reference such as this some form of cheating. I don’t know why, it’s the same when I draw, I always got antsy over using reference then.
It has taken me until now to realise it’s not cheating at all, and it was the most helpful thing I’ve ever done to further improve my writing.
If you haven’t tried it out, I would fully recommend giving it a go. Gather any useful images you can find to do with your story, not just for characters or setting, just anything that helps you to immerse yourself into the writing. Visual aids are definitely being added to my writing process! 😀
Do you use visual aids? Have you ever tried out a new technique that has now become set into your writing process?
Status of Third Manuscript: Editing first draft.
April E-Book Review: Book chosen.