Writers are famous for throwing their time down into the black hole of the Internet. Then we look around woefully at the five words added to their manuscript and wonder where it all went wrong. So proceed with caution. Here there be dragons. All that jazz.
Start with a theme.
If you have no idea what your story is about, please don’t start a board. (Note: all this advice is geared toward making your boards visually pleasing. If you honestly don’t care how your board looks, fly free. Go by the seat of your pants. You inspire me). Know a little of what your story is about. For me, I pick a season, a feel, and a musical genre. Maybe it comes with the territory of my personality type (esfjs will take over the world. until the intjs pull out their secret death star and destroy us all), but sometimes it’s easier to think in aesthetics. People remind me of the ocean, of theme songs. It’s an easy way to categorize them in my brain.
For my newest idea, it takes place in fall. The feel is cozy twinkle lights and puddles of blood and sassy friendships and fab hair and candy. The musical genre that fits this story’s feel is alternative rock. That gives me a great place to start.
Take a page and just spill out things that remind you of this story. If you don’t fly that way, then perhaps a page full of Useful Objects or Objects that Appear in the Setting. My list looked something along the lines of:
warm hoodies, twinkle lights, community college, chocolate muffins, the grim reaper, comic book collections, dried herbs, horror movies, stocking caps, anime soundtracks, impromptu rap sessions, morning donut runs, dyed hair, spiderwebs, skeletons, croissants, pumpkin muffins, cosplays, and close friendship.
Granted, my list was much longer, but you can get a nice feel from that.
Start searching for images on Pinterest. After spending some time roaming the wilds of this site, I seem to get better results if I add ‘aesthetic’ after the search time. Sometimes this will save me from having to weed through a page of coffee recipes before I get a visually pleasing shot of coffee grounds.
Don’t overdose on anything.
Make sure you strike a balance. Don’t do fifty pins of quotes and then fifty images. Make sure they are balanced. Pinterest can and does wield its scepter and rearrange your images as you add more, so don’t freak if you have two quotes in a row at first. Also, make sure you balance. I wanted a really strong fall theme in mine, but you can only pin so many pictures of pumpkins and fall leaves before I start wondering if I’m a writer or a nature photographer. Mix it up a little.
Pick a color.
My colors were pretty strongly fall oriented: brown, orange, red, so forth. A little black got thrown in to help the spooky feel along, which worked when I wanted to post quotes. Pick a general spectrum of color and don’t stray too hard. It’ll look like you indiscriminately rifled through a consignment shop of clothing from 1973 if you throw a mint sweater, an orange pumpkin, and hot pink roller skates altogether. That’s not to say that you need to religiously follow a certain color scheme, but let’s try to keep it visually pleasing and not like a train wreck of color.