Thursday, June 21, 2007

The collage version of 'plotter vs. pantser'

This is a great question posed by Rachael in the comments to my last post so let's chat about it:

I know others have blogged about this and written articles on the like, but how do you collage. Do you start with a general idea about characters and settings and go hunt for them or do you just pick up a mag and go hell for leather? Just wondering, as I'm hoping to finish my wip soon and I've got three ideas to choose from for the next one and I thought doing some collages may help me clarify, which idea I have the most to give to at the moment. Am I making sense??

You're making perfect sense, Rachael, and in fact, you really made me think about how I go through the whole process.
I'm a plotter, so before I start a book I usually have an idea and work from there. Once I have a vague vision of what type of people my hero and heroine will be like (eg. suave, rugged, conservative, sassy, whatever) I flip through my hero/heroine file or a magazine to find an image to go with my idea.
Similarly, I always know where my book will be set so search for pics to symbolise that place or to give an ambience.
That said, once I get the main pics for hero/heroine sorted, I let my imagination run wild and flick through a magazine, cutting out anything which might suit the story. This is a great way to get the creative juices flowing, as I usually incorporate these strange/quirky/unexpected pics into the story somehow and it leads me in all sorts of new directions.
In the collage above (for PICTURE PERFECT, my 4th Modern Extra) I had a very clear idea of setting so most of the pics show it. That said, I didn't use any 'quirky' pics in this one, and I found I didn't use the collage as much when writing.
With my desert prince collage, pics like the opal, glass tea set and feet washed have all been incorporated into the story as I found myself much more immersed in the collage and thus the story.
So hope this helps, Rachael. My advice to you would be try both methods (hunting for pics to suit the story VS. going hell for leather!) and see which works best for you.
And for more 'how-to' advice, check out my interview on collaging with Barbara Hannay here.
Have fun!!


Rachael Blair said...

Thanks heaps for all this - I'm definately going to give it a shot! And hope all's going well on your current book.

Kacey said...

I love to collage my books! I've started using Curio on my Mac to do it. It has a great image search feature where you can go out and grab images.

Still like to do some cute and paste collages when I'm in the mood though. And sometimes I scan in pics I've ripped out of magazines so I can put them in my computer collage!