At the moment I have a few projects going and all of them are vastly different. They allow me to be amazingly creative, but they also pose a problem. When someone tells you - make me anything in this theme (horror, fantasy, etc.) it can sometimes be difficult to center your thoughts on what you want to do. I thrive with these types of assignments. An excuse to write whatever crazy thing I dream up? Yes, please.
But - I was dreamed out for 2015. If I am honest, the closer it got to Christmas the more I wanted to eat junkfood all day and play Fallout 4 (it is a serious addiction, I am considering going to meetings). When you have deadlines this sucks so bad. However, I have a tried a true method for getting out of my writing ruts and I wanted to share it with you!
What is a moodboard? A board where you stick, glue, and tape a bunch of things that inspire you.
Why do a moodboard? It gets your mind thinking differently. You might be a super creative writer, but sometimes when we write we think too much about our concept and the words that surround it. Creating a moodboard makes you think about your project in a different way.
But Liz, what the hell does this look like? Well, let me show you!
This is the moodboard I created for an scenario I am writing for Chill by Growling Door Games. I was a stretch goal writer for their Kickstarter SAVE - The Eternal Society. Chill is a horror game where you play an Envoy - an investigator of the Unknown (think: Veronica Mars vs. the supernatural where shit just got super serious). It was very cool to be chosen to write a stretch goal for Growling Door, because the assignment was unique to anything else I was doing.
Backers of the Kickstarter could share creepy/cool photos on social media and as a writer I got to choose one I was inspired by to base my scenario on. When looking through the photos, I instantly knew the one I was going to pick:
|Image from @thaowarra|
My adventure is called the Temple of the Skin Man. When I started writing all I had was a really epic picture and a good title. That's it. For a very long time. Ego aside - my title was really cool and the picture was perfect, so what was the problem? Well, I had absolutely zero ideas of where to go from there. And spending hours in front of my monitor only resulted in backing a random Kickstarter, buying a pair of shoes, and re-reading the same posts on social media convincing myself that +1/liking something made me productive.
If this is the point you have gotten to - get off the computer! Wait, get off the computer after you finish reading this post :).
Once I was free from the screen I got a piece of cardboard from the recycling bin and started gluing things on the board that reminded me of - Chill, the picture I was using, and things I thought were pretty.
In summary, the three elements you should put on your writing moodboard:
Something that reminds you of the the book/game you are writing for.
Chill for me is dark, horror, dirt, grime, life, and terror. I smudged the board black with charcoal and added a few roots from the back yard.
Something specific to what you are writing.
I really wanted to use cards in my scenario. Why? Cards are cool. I also drew out an oubliette for my adventure (the thing in the pic that looks like a turnip). I have been kind of obsessed with oubliettes as dungeons since my friend opened a club named after them and now I had an excuse to use one in an adventure.
Something you think is cool.
This is possibly the most important part of a mood board. The idea behind this is to get you creative and open up your imagination. Just stick some cool shit to the board that fits your theme. Later on when you are stuck with writing, look at the board, pick something out, and use it. Even if it doesn't work and you take it out in the end - at least you wrote something!
Have you made a moodboard for a project you are doing? Do you have any other advice for getting started on a project? Leave a comment!