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How to Use Pinterest to Plan Your Novel

Do you ever sit down to write your novel, only to stare at the blinking cursor while you daydream about the movie adaptation? If so, I’ve got some good news for you: that doesn’t count as procrastinating.

how to use pinterest to plan a novel

Our brains process visual information best, so when you picture that scene from chapter 1 as if it were in a film, you’re simply visualizing your plot.

That might sound like a good excuse for daydreaming, but it’s actually really helpful for the creative process! There’s a reason playwrights and scriptwriters use storyboards — visualizing your scenes is the best way to bring them to life.

Pinterest is one of my favorite visual tools across the board (see what I did there?), especially for writing. Not only does it help you visualize everything from your characters to your setting, but it’s also ideal for keeping all your research and visual aids in one place.

how to use pinterest to plan a novel

The great thing about Pinterest is that you can pin from anywhere. If you get the Pinterest button extension for your browser, you can save images and links from other sites to your boards.

Here are just a few more ways you can use Pinterest to plan a novel, or just to get a little inspiration for your next story.

Character Inspiration Board

I like to give my characters faces and bodies, but I can’t draw — I imagine this is a predicament that many writers share. The next best thing is to search the internet for people who look similar to my characters and pin a few photos to my story board.

I also have a character brainstorm board. If I see a photo of a person I find interesting or inspirational, I’ll save it to the board to use for later. I often revisit this board when I want to do a writing exercise.

Kristen Kieffer of Well-Storied has a treasure trove of character inspiration boards. (As well as a smorgasbord of writing resources!) This is just one of them:

Setting Inspiration Board

Is your novel set somewhere you’ve never been? Need to brainstorm settings for your next book? Make a location board!

Pinterest is full of travel photos and guides, so chances are good you’ll find high-definition photos of your setting. You may even find travel guides, which are super helpful for finding local favorite spots. This will add a little extra authenticity to your story.

Need some ideas? Check out E.M. Welsh‘s location board!

Animals/Nature Board

To give your novel a stronger and more authentic setting, consider the plants and animals that inhabit it! For example, my WIP is set in the deep South, so I mention cicadas, coyotes, snakes, and black widows, because my character encounters all of them, just as a real Southerner might.

I’ve encountered all those creatures, though. If you’re writing a story set somewhere you’ve never been with creatures you’ve never encountered, nature boards can be really helpful.

Tips for Using Pinterest to Plan a Novel

Inspiration boards are well and good, but they might not help with developing your existing characters or finishing a current WIP. If you’re looking to use Pinterest to strengthen your characters or storyboard an existing work, I got you covered with some character-building Pinterest board ideas!

Make a board your character might make.

Channel your character’s interests. Are they into geek culture? Pin quotes from their favorite movies or merchandise they might buy. Do they like makeup? Create some boards and fill them up with makeup tutorials they might watch or products they might use.

Consider what’s going on in the story.

Is your character getting married? Make a board for their wedding. Are they moving into a new house? Boom, interior design board. This is a great way to flesh out your character and make them more real. That enables you to write better, more authentic characters.

Use board sections.

Sections are a relatively new feature on Pinterest, and they’re a godsend for super-organized writers. Let’s say you create a character board for your protagonist. To keep things neat, you might make different sections for their wardrobe, hair, interests, favorite quotes, important items, etc.

Sections are also useful for plotting. If your character goes through a big life change, you might create different sections for the before and after. Maybe even the during, too. Why not? The possibilities are endless.


Pinterest is basically a free, digital storyboard. It’s a search engine, not a social network, and that’s one of the reasons I love it — I can collect things in my own little corner of the internet where no one will disturb me.

The best part? You can set your boards to secret if you don’t want your followers knowing what you’re up to. One of my writing projects is really personal to me, so the board for that story is completely secret — no one can see what I pin to it, and it doesn’t show up on my page at all.

Do you use Pinterest to plan your novel or creative works? Got any more ideas or useful tips for Pinterest newbies? You know what to do!

Published in Book Reviews

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