A writer’s mood board

Many of the authors I know, in their story development stage, gather together ideas in the way lots of creative professionals do, by building them into a mood board. It helps to form those early inspirations into a context that creates a good story. A story – in romance that has a strong beginning middle and end, and in thrillers has a strong beginnnig, fifteen suprise deviations and a shocking end ;D .

I’ve often talked about inspirations for the settings of scenes, and the plotlines in my books but there are also inspirations for the appearance of characters. Authors cut out pictures from magazines, of the public, actors and models they identify with and pin them onto cork boards along with pictures of places and sometimes maps of fictional villages and towns. My historical story boards are in my mind, on my laptop and despersed through books. There are hunderds of photos in folders, that I’ve taken on visits to places that have inspired me, and piles of books around the house with coloured bookmarkers or peices of paper poking out of the important pages. As my fans will know, for most books I also capture some of the things I’ve used as inspirtion in accompanying Pinterest Boards. So readers can see the places, items, properties and people that inspired elements of the stories.

These images include the rooms which inspired Clio’s home and lifestyle in Hartlepool, in Entangled. Then the follies at Stourhead and Newstead Abbey, Lord Byron’s property, which were inspirations for George’s home.

But I discovered a new inspiration for characters last year that I haven’t shared here before. My husband and I live in an old cottage and after we’d built an extension decided to change the furniture in the old half of the house too. So, we started hunting for antiques. But while I was searching for antique furniture I found myself being distracted by minatures in the antiques shops. I spent ages looking into the eyes and faces of people in their small portraits. As I said last week, it’s absorbing wondering who they were and how they lived, and then they became the characters. So, I started gathering some of these images. It’s no different from choosing a face in a magazine today, really.

I bought a few minatures. But then I began just saving pictures of them, because I can’t buy them all. I have about a hundred pictures.

What I particularly love is the minatures that look like mistresses. I imagine the small paintings secreted in a gentleman’s chest pocket near to his heart :’D . He’d take it out and look at it, and show his friends to brag about his prize. You can usually spot a mistress in a portrait, even among the portraits on the walls in the large stately homes. They are painted with a coquettish air and usually exposing a large part, if not all, of one breast. I’ve said it often – the Georgian’s kept their mistresses unspoken of in polite society but in plain sight. While the Victorians pretended to be pious and hid their mistresses behind closed doors. Below is the sort of image that makes me imagine this young woman was someone’s mistresss. It’s bejewelled so I think he was very proud of winning her attention, if not her affection. And she probably came at a high price. It’s the sort of portrait that would inspire a story let alone a character. I imagine her to be a woman like Harriette Wilson – and there’s a tale of a mistress that followers of this blog know very well.

The true story of a 19th Century Courtesan ~ Harriette Wilson

The true stories, Harriette Wilson, the 19th Century Courtesan, didn’t tell in her memoirs

About janelarkhttps://janelark.wordpress.coma writer of compelling, passionate and emotionally charged fiction

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