Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Mood Board; a different way of plotting a novel

       There has got to be a thousand different ways
of gaining the inspiration to breathe life into a new writing project.

I'm starting a new novel and I need to stimulate my creativity to bring the infant story to life.
I thought I’d tried  all the different methods of finding ideas and fusing the ideas together to make the story work; wall charts, notebooks, time-lines, character sketches, brainstorming, web-making. But I’ve been motivated by all those interior design programmes on the TV to try a mood board.
Nina's New Novel - the Mood Board
This simply is a cork board onto which I’ve pinned, glued and wedges all the things that are exciting inspiration for the story I’m writing at the moment. 
I’d love to tell you more about this story, but I do believe in the old writers’ maxim; Careless Talk Wrecks Your Plot. So I’ll just say that, yet again, I’m turning to a life of crime. I love examining what happens when people are put in extremis, as both the victims of violent crime and because they are driven to commit atrocities like murder. 
I’ve recently spent time in the East End of London and, in a  lot of ways, I loved it; the vibrancy of the community there feels dynamic and vital. But it is a place where there is a lot of poverty...and a lot of crime. So part of my book will be set there. Another part will be set locally. I’ve been bursting to use the wonderful landscape of west Wales, and I’m heading slightly north to Aberystwyth (the recent home of the TV hit Hinterland) to take advantage of the grey, angry seas, the murmuring starlings over the pier, the infestation of holiday makers, and the rising cliffs with the Victorian Cliff Railway set central. It’s a mixed community, a university town with an Arts Centre and the National Library of Wales, but it also knows poverty. Alongside all this is the long-standing farming community and the bustle of the tourist trade. And, away from the coast, is the windswept raw beauty of the Cambrian mountains and its lakes, which feed the River Teifi.
Trying to gain the right mood for a book is a subtle thing, easily lost as you think up characters and engineer the plot, and I’m really pleased with my mood board. I can easily picture my character's faces; I know about their clothes, their pets, their hobbies and their past stories.
I’m gaining a real sense of my central characters; their lives, their feelings, decisions, flaws; their hopes and fears. In fact; the mood board is helping life inside their worlds. 


  1. I've never thought of this idea. I might give it a go.
    Lauren B.

    1. At least it's fun. Starting a novel is a nervy time. Making a mood board is a bit of light relief which still feels as if it's getting you somewhere.

  2. Your settings sound fascinating; London always is because all life is there and your characters can do pretty much anything. Wales I love, the parts I have visited, and I always think we are lucky to have such a variety of people and scenery in our little islands.