Hello all! It’s lovely (if slightly nerve-wracking) to be here with my very first post for The Great Noveling Adventure. Even more nerve-wracking given that this was supposed to be last week’s Media Monday post, but flu and its aftermath have led to me being late. Anyhow, I’m Becca. I’ve been writing stories for almost as long as I can remember, and these days mostly write novels for young adults, frequently featuring old things, even older magic, and places with personalities.
I’m not the most media-savvy person in the world, and when it comes to high-tech novel-planning resources, I can’t help you much; I tend to scribble my plans by hand in any old notebook (or occasionally on the backs of used envelopes). One thing I do, though, is collect bits and pieces for inspiration and visualisation. A lot of people use Pinterest for that purpose (as Lys discussed the other week), and I have a few Pinterest boards myself, but my favourite way of media-collection is to make a good old-school physical scrapbook.
I find several benefits to making my scrapbooks by hand – I can organise the images in any order I want, put them in sections, and write my own notes and captions around them. But mostly, it’s the experience of having something physical to hold in my hands. A book to open and immerse myself in the world of my story. I tend to make a new one for each individual project, and it’s my go-to resource when my inspiration dries up or I’m feeling dispirited with the story.
There’s no formula or ‘right way’ to make a scrapbook, any more than there is to journalling. For some people, every page of a scrapbook is a work of art in itself, but mine tend to be more haphazard than that. I divide them by pages, so I’ll have a section for each main character, one for the setting, perhaps one for each important sub-plot. For example, below are some photographs of my current scrapbook for the WIP. There’s a spread for the physical setting (which happens to be a real place I know well, so I used my own photographs, but it’s easy enough to find images online for settings you can’t visit yourself), another spread to give the feel of the time period (WWII in this case), and one that illustrates the backstory of one of my characters.
I also collect bits and pieces with less literal connections to the story, because this is about capturing the feel and mood of a piece. Art and poetry tend to feature quite a lot in my scrapbooks, and I’m always on the lookout for a quote or a painting or anything else that reminds me of my story. They have their own pages, like this one:
The great thing about a scrapbook is that it can be anything you want it to be. It can include photographs, artwork (other people’s or your own), images you’ve scavenged from the internet, quotes, poetry, notes, maps, or even news articles. I love them, because opening one is like stepping into my own story, and what could be better than that?