Growing up I was always told there were different types of learners; Kinaesthetic, Read-Write, Auditory and Visual. You can learn in multiple ways but usually there is one type of learning that is more dominant and easier for you to undertake than the others. Here’s the definitions;
- Kinaesthetic - learn by doing and solving real-life problems, and like hands-on approaches to things by learn through trial and error.
- Read-Write - prefer for information to be displayed in writing, such as lists of ideas.
- Auditory - prefer to have things explained to them verbally rather than to read written information. They learn by listening and speaking.
- Visual - exhibit impatience and have a tendency to interrupt. They learn by seeing and visualising.
I believe I am a more Visual learner, as well as having minor Read-Write tendencies. I once remembered an answer to a question while I was at school by looking at the white board and visualising where the answer was. I also find it a lot easier to write about a place if I have a map in front of me.
This way of thinking and learning can be applied to writing a novel, especially one that needs a lot of planning and thought. As humans we cannot be expected to remember every element of things we create but I’ve found there can be a simple solution to this and I will use my own experiences to prove this.
Currently working on a new story titled The Missing Prince. I asked one of my friends to draw me a map of the place I had envisioned. Now this was no easy task for I had absolutely no idea what I wanted for the world or how it was going to look. We agreed that if I could draw up a rough map (and I mean rough, it was literally circles and lines with names and information) then she would do a rough sketch and get her friend to fill in the rest!
Having that map to visualise things helped me immensely! Trying to start my novel was difficult I tried first person and third, coming by sea and land, I even attempted to start with a fight scene but none of it worked. However, once I had this rough map drawn in front of me I knew exactly where my main character was coming from, where he was going and why, what he needed to do in the first chapter and it all came together wonderfully.
You don’t need anything as fancy as the maps you see in other stories like the one from Throne of Glass, or the one from my friend Sarina’s Rise of the Sparrows. In fact, mine looked something like this;
Not exactly artistic ey! But all I needed was that little bit of visual aide to guide me into writing my story and it worked. Now whenever I’m writing I can come back to the map and there will never be any direction issues, or name forgetting because it’ll all be there in front of me.
Another visual aide I use is a Character Image Board. I actually have two of these on Pinterest. One for my Free Story Noelle, which you can see here and get access to in my free library by signing up here, and one for The Missing Prince. These can be super helpful, as I have been known to change a characters hair colour halfway through a story (thanks Ashley!). You don’t need a lot of them either. In The Missing Prince I only have one image for each character whereas in Noelle's sory I have about three or four. It’s completely up to you, depending on the character you want to create, you might want Jennifer Lawrence’s features with Nicole Kidman’s hair colour, use both pictures and make notes.
I also fill out a character profile worksheet for each character I create. This has all the basics as well as a few extra bits of information so that whenever you hit that road block you don’t throw something in quickly and it be completely different but you can grab your character profile and know that they have green eyes, not blue, and their olive skin isn’t as white as a lily. These easy tips can help even the most seasoned writer in their hour of need.
Characters can also be hard to imagine if you don’t have all the facts. Head on over to Pinterest and type in Character Inspiration. Use the prompts at the top to refine it down to what you’re looking for. Scroll through the many images of celebs and models alike to find the perfect image of your character and then save it. Make notes too, so you want blonde hair and freckles but you can’t find the perfect image? Use a couple of images and write down what you’re using from them.
I have created some helpful worksheets for you to use in your endeavour to have visual aids on hand at all times. Blank sheets with spaces for maps as well as a questionnaire about what your setting has. Then character profile sheets with space for up to five images so you can use one image for hair, another for skin colour and eyes etc. as well as a profile so you know what your characters likes and dislikes, how tall they are etc. Keep this in a folder and on hand to create your own Novel Portfolio.
Stay tuned for more updates and worksheets for your Novel Portfolio!
Do you use visual aides to help with your writing? Let me know which ones in the comments below!