At the start of my current work in progress, Spirit, I had a bright idea. Instead of just gathering together photographs and objects on my desk to inspire me, I’d create a Pinterest board. Then everyone could see what was in my mind while I was developing the story, and I wouldn’t amass a load of what my OH calls "rubbish". It’s a big ask to expect a virtual collection to reduce the amount of clutter on my desk, but I live in hope!
Setting up an account with Pinterest was the easy part, although there are so many Pinners sharing my name, I’ve had to register as HollisRomance. Then I began browsing, and my problems started. Be warned - looking through other people’s collections is highly addictive. It’s a wonderful way to lose track of hours of working time. It’s easy enough to get distracted by other entries when looking up a word in a dictionary, or researching in the library. Pinterest has the added snares of beautiful images, which makes it ten times harder to resist. It could well be another example of technology making life easier in some ways, but more challenging in others. It will take all the legwork out of things like house makeovers, for one thing. Instead of traipsing around town gathering swatches and paint charts, images of everything can be collected together, compared and contrasted at the click of a mouse. If you are looking for inspiration for that next holiday, there are pictures and mementoes on display from just about everywhere. You can check them all out from the comfort of your chair. Want to see how the other half lives? Clicking through the thousands of pages on offer is a wonderful way to see the Harlequin Presents way of life in living colour.
There’s no doubt Pinterest is an amazing visual tool, although when it came to making up my own board I hit a big snag. I had very definite ideas in mind for Spirit. The major plot revolves around a beautiful necklace. As this exists only in my mind, not surprisingly it’s been impossible to find a suitable image to post. And another thing - everyone who sees the “Brackenridge Wonder”, as the necklace is called, is completely blown away by it. That’s easy to write, but one person’s Wonder is someone else’s Tacky Bling.
Then there is The Cake, which is a feature of Spirit’s first chapter. My downtrodden heroine Ruth takes refuge in comfort-eating her way through the most intricate, irresistible cake my chocolate-loving mind could devise - so once again there are no on-line pictures available. I face bringing it to life in my own kitchen for the sake of taking a photograph. At least the result will be edible, so it won’t be wasted. If the finished cake isn’t photogenic, we’ll simply have to eat the evidence and try again until I produce a confection that does the job. It’ll be tough, but someone has to do it (!) If I want to show you the image in my head, that’s the only way it’s going to get on Pinterest.
They say “The pictures are better on radio” because they come from your imagination and aren’t fed to you ready made, as they are with TV. Do you think the same goes for reading and images on the web? Would being able to see The Brackenridge Wonder or Ruth’s cake add to your enjoyment, or do you prefer to escape with your own ideas of Paradise when you read?
There’s a signed copy of my latest Harlequin Mills and Boon Modern Romance The Count’s Prize on offer for a comment picked at random.
Christina Hollis writes both Contemporary and Historical fiction - when she isn’t cooking, gardening or beekeeping.