"At first they were not a story, just pictures. The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: 'Let's try to make a story about it.'"
Here is C.S. Lewis writing about the creation of The Chronicles of Narnia in his book Of Other Worlds. Reading this gave me such joy, kind of like that feeling of hope I found when I read Tolkien's piece on writing. (If you missed that post, check it out HERE)
Since I was in elementary school, I have created my tales based on the pictures that came to mind. When in high school, I started having dreams of stories to write. Everything flowed through like a movie, complete with costumes, props, settings, and music.
Unfortunately, I am not an artist, so I knew I could not recreate the images myself. I started to scour picture books, magazines, and the internet for images that resonated with my internal storyteller. Soon I had enough to cover the floor of my small bedroom.
Now, to organize it all, I visited my local Barnes & Noble and purchased a massive sketchbook from the Bargain section. Then I began cutting and pasting my pictures onto the pages. Each image received a date and a short description of why I liked it: Was it a setting for a particular story? Was it a potential costume? Or was it an expression that favored one of my characters?
Using this modified sketchbook, I created my own inspiration book. The visual nature of it has helped when I am stumped as to how to describe a particular look, gesture, clothing piece or attitude. It has also served me on those dark days when I feel absolutely no desire to type another blasted word.
If you have made it to the end of this post, you are probably wondering why don't I just use Pinterest. I do but not for my writing. Perhaps one day I will. If Pinterest will work for you, check out this article about authors using Pinterest. Amanda Luedeke has some great tips for you.
For me, I want to hold my ideas. Flip through them while I enjoy another cup of coffee or tea. Be able to take them with me whether or not I have the internet.
After all, C.S. Lewis carried his picture in his head for 24 years.(No "Pin it!" button was available.)