Monday, March 17, 2008

Writing collages

Great idea for writing! Thanks to Colleen Thompson from Boxing the Octopus, I've discovered author collages.

This is for the pre-writing stages of your book when you are ruminating over ideas on how the story will take shape. You collect pictures and objects related to your story, or to evoke certain emotions in the book, and put them on a sturdy piece of cardboard or foamboard and keep the collage before you as inspiration.

I usually collect photos of antique gowns (the story I'm writing is Edwardian) or photos on settings (New Orleans and Jackson Square, where ENEMY LOVER, my Nov. Nocturne, is set) but never pulled them all together in one piece as an easily referenced visual aid.

Jenny Crusie has a terrific blog post about making a collage and how collecting one piece can lead to inspiration.

She writes, "When I began looking for images, I knew there would be chocolate-covered cherries in the book, but I found myself much more interested in roses, in rooms with windows, in water images, in clocks. It took me awhile to understand why. As a former art teacher, I wanted to make a work of art that illustrated my book, but as the collective muse for my book, the Girls in the Basement wanted a collage that evoked the story. Fortunately, the Girls won. Take those clocks, for example. I had no intentions of doing anything with time since the book was going to be about greed. But as I was gluing my fourteenth clock on the collage, it dawned on me: greed is ever-present; it's time pressure that makes the greedy take action. So I looked at my characters again with the idea that they were running out of time to achieve the things they were greedy for, and the book suddenly had push where before there had just been ideas."

I'm going to try this for the new historical. I've run into roadblocks in the writing, and pulling it together. I know where I want to go, but it seems like there are too many detours in this story already. Usually I don't do much "pre-writing" because my deadlines jump from one to another, and the day job demands make it tough to juggle my writing time.

However, the idea of a book collage is something I'm taking time to do for this book. And next week when I'm in the DR for the day job and have down time (four hour bus trip to the north) I'll jot ideas of what to put in my collage.

Click here to read Jenny's blog post on how to make an author collage.


Gillian Layne said...

I'm so arts-crafts deficient, it's hard to believe doing this wouldn't be utterly frustrating for me. But I know loads of people swear by it.

Will you post pics for us when you're done?

Bonnie Vanak said...

Gillian, I'm equally deficient, lol. I'm putting the pictures I cut out in a box until I get the foam core. I'm sure the board, when it's done, will resemble Martha Stewart's worst nightmare.

But I will post a pix. If I ever get it done!