Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Inspiration comes in many forms. . . visual, aural, tactile, etc. A painting or a piece of evocative music may prompt a story idea, so might the soft texture of a woven shawl or hand knitted sweater. Face it, anything that strikes the fancy can be fodder for the writer’s imagination.

A while ago, Jennifer Crusie wrote an article for the RWR about making story collages as a form of prewriting, a method of getting in touch with their stories before the actual process of writing begins. I was so fascinated by this oft-used method (writers like Anne Stuart, Jo Beverley, Susan Wiggs, Christie Ridgeway and Barbara Samuel frequently use this technique), I had to try it.

Unfortunately, my living space doesn’t really support the housing of a three dimensional collage (read many small children and even more cats.) But, I was so intrigued, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Thus, the Book of Wonder was born.

Using pictures from magazines, snippets of phrases, lovely scrapbook paper, pictures from the internet, I began to collage together visual images and inspiration for FAERY KISSED, my WIP at the time. It was a giddy, freeing sensation to be able to find the faces of my characters, to see where they lived, to find images and phrases that resonated with them regardless of whether or not they’d be used in the actual story. These story collages gave me access to my characters and story on a whole different level.

As I’m sure you know there are three basic methods of learning. Visual, aural and tactile or hands-on. Like many people, my primary method of learning is visual, followed closely by tactile. This is the method through which I best process information. Actively working with the visual images I selected and turning them into mini works of art seemed to free up other areas of my brain. As I worked, I got ideas for new directions to take my story. I figured out how the story’s secret would be revealed. I thought of ideas for two connected stories. It was like a non-stop party in my head and I couldn’t wait to get back to writing. Since then, I’ve done a series of pages for all of my books and I store them together in an expandable scrapbook.

Frequently, life imposes writing breaks, whether we want them or not. Often, after one of these breaks, it can be difficult to get back into the flow of writing again. The best thing about the Book of Wonder is that it acts as a conduit for creative thought. If I’m having trouble betting back into my story, I open up the Book of Wonder and peruse the pages. Inevitably, just looking these pages puts me back in a writing mood and I’m ready to move forward again.

In addition to story pages, I’m also fond of doing random inspiration pages. These are all-purpose collages and illustrative of my idea of romance.

A Disclaimer: The copyright holders of the following images retain all copyrights. These images are being displayed for educational purposes only.

If you'd like to check out some of my most recent story pages, please go to I've got images up for Overlord's Vessel, and my two tarot stories, I Put a Spell on You and Ronan's Grail. The indivdual albums are listed on the right.

Do any of the other Goddesses do anything like this or have any other methods of prewriting?

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