Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Collaging: A Novel Approach

So you all know I like collaging as a way to help bring my story world to life, and I've shared some of the past collages on the blog. This time, however, a regular collage didn't seem to be working for Theo Four. For one thing, collages are big and tend to evoke a story world rather than represent it, and for this Theo book, I needed factual specifics. It takes place in Cairo and Luxor in 1907, both real places and real times, so I am somewhat constrained by, you know, reality. And in order to write about it, I need to see it. But if I paste the old photos I find on a collage board, they become lost or overwhelmed.

Well this weekend, I stumbled upon a fix to this conundrum. I decided that instead of creating a collage board for this Theodosia book, I'd create a travel journal such as Theo herself might have kept to record her trips.

(Sorry about the glare.)

So now I've been cutting and pasting all the old photos I've found in my research into this book, then making notations and observations in Theo's voice next to each picture.

This is doing two things. It's a great way to accumulate all the research visuals I need in one place and in chronological order, and it's allowing me to focus on seeing them through Theo's eyes. It's really helped me "get into the mood" for writing this book.


Tricia said...

this is wonderful inspiration! thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

So, so brilliant.

nyla said...

This is genius. I have a visual journal for my novel project, but the idea of doing this from the character's perspective is just fantastic. Brings life to characters in a very tactile way!

I've also just discovered Scrivner - a novel writing software where you can easily collect online images, websites, PDFs etc. and actually integrate them into your manuscript (where you might need a visual reminder/cue.) I'm technologically challenged, but so far it has been an invaluable tool and relatively easy to use :)

Anna Staniszewski said...

This is such a clever idea and it makes so much sense with the project. Thanks for sharing!

Sherrie Petersen said...

I love this!

I always have pictures on my computer of places my characters live and visit, but the journal idea is awesome!

Jinnyd said...

That's so clever! Like actually "living your story". Perhaps I could use this idea to generate creative thoughts.

Robin L said...

Gah. I'm totally lagging on getting back here to respond to comments! Sorry about that.

So glad you found it inspiring, Tricia.

However, I have to say this is not brilliance, Becky, but desperation. :-)

Nyla, I've heard a ton of good things about Scrivner, I just haven't had the time for the learning curve. Nice to hear it isn't prohibitive. Will have to check that out.

Anna, it does feel like the perfect solution for this project!

Sherrie, my computer doesn't work as a place to post pictures because I do most of my early drafting away from the computer.

Jinnyd, living your story is a perfect way to describe it.