Any Pinterest storyboard aficionados here? I must confess, it’s slightly addicting. I usually manage to tear myself away before Pinterest consumes hours of my time, so my Pinterest boards are hardly on the jaw-dropping, drool-worthy side, but they inspire me, and I suppose that’s the point. I have certainly had fun building Pinterest boards for some of my stories: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, Out of Darkness Rising, and other top secret upcoming projects *hint hint*.
Long story short, Pinterest boards can be great ways to visualize the worlds if our stories and the characters that inhabit them. So I am excited to host a guest from author (and editor) Kristen Stieffel to the blog today, sharing some of the images she found while prepping the cover for her upcoming fantasy novel, Alara’s Call.
Let’s Welcome Kristen!
I’ve always envied writers whose Pinterest boards were loaded up with pictures of their characters. I have a terrible time finding the right people. In Alara’s Call, her mentor General Rariden has always been Harrison Ford. But with all the other characters, especially Alara herself, I’ve struggled to put a real-life person into the role.
Alara has a high forehead, pointed chin, and green eyes. Apparently this is a really unusual combination. I spent hours combing through Pinterest and stock photo sites but kept coming up short. One girl might have the right shape of face, but she’d be blonde. Another would have a perfect costume, but her bun was all frowzy and tousled. Alara is not a messy bun kind of girl. And when the hair was perfect, the makeup looked like something from a production of Cats. Alara doesn’t wear makeup.
I once came across a photo on Pinterest that struck me with how much she looks like Alara. Except Alara would never dress this way.
The model reminds me of Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who, so I pretty much decided that Jenna Coleman could pull off the role of Alara. But let’s face it, getting her on the cover of my book was about as likely as getting Harrison Ford to star in the film.
So I kept looking. At one point I found a model on Shutterstock who almost had the right look. But the expression on her face wasn’t compelling.
What I really wanted was a picture of Alara in her battle gear. She braids her hair, wears a black brigandine, and carries a rapier.
Do you know what happens when you search stock photo sites for pictures of women in armor? You probably don’t want to know.
At one point I thought I had it. That black-haired warrior woman on the second row…but…oops that’s a broadsword. Alara doesn’t wear gauntlets. And there’s snow in the background…Alara’s Call takes place during summer. Dang.
Another writer pointed me to Period Images, a stock photo site that specializes in historical fiction. There I found my girl.
Okay, Alara carries a sword often and a parasol never, but this model had the right look, and the dress is the same color and style as one I describe in the book. But Michele Israel Harper, my editor at Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, found this picture on the cover of another book. That’s the major problem with using stock photo sites.
But now at least I had a model. We found another shot of the same model in a different gown, and we had a winner. Since we were still editing the book, I even added a bit of description to one of the scenes so Alara’s dress matches the one on the cover.
I have a Pinterest board for Alara’s Call if you want to see more of the photos that almost but don’t quite match my characters.
Thanks for sharing the model hunting process, Kristen! I’m excited to find out more about your book too. :)
Now, it’s your turn! Any writers out there who create Pinterest storyboards? Any readers who create Pinterest boards for their favorite books or fandoms? Share your favorites in the comments.