One advantage of using Evernote is that when either of us comes across an article or an image that we think might be useful either for inspiration or research, we can clip it and toss it in our planning notebook for future reference. We also have a note dedicated to an on-going list of plot bunnies in that notebook. Some of the clipped material will get used; some of it won’t, but it’s nice to have something to riffle through if we need inspiration.
Images have played a significant role in inspiring our work. For example, an image of a decrepit house inspired our 2012 Halloween story, A Hundred Lonely Halloweens. I came across the image, showed it to Ari, and we both loved it enough to make it the visual inspiration for Delaney House. I don’t remember off-hand where the house in the photo is located, but based on the terrain, we situated our fictional version in the Smoky Mountains.
We often use visual inspiration for our characters as well. I’ve mentioned before that Luke Reynolds from Heart of Stone bears a strong resemblance to Captain Tightpants from Firefly, and Luke isn’t the only character for whom I’ve had a specific actor in mind while writing.
One of Evan’s biggest problems in Blood Bathory — aside from being turned into a vampire against his will — is being judged based on his appearance. He’s described as a “pretty boy”, and Elizabeth chooses to turn him because of his looks. Evan is not and never will be the rugged, macho type, and I had a specific look in mind for him: Ian Somerhalder, who is such a ridiculously pretty man, it ought to be illegal.
I first saw him as Boone on Lost, and now he’s pretty much the only reason I’m still watching The Vampire Diaries. When it comes to vampires on TV, I’d rather watch True Blood, because the characters are adults, not teens, and there is a generous bounty of adult men who roam around in various states of undress at pretty much all times. Especially Eric. I don’t even go for blond men as a general rule, but I’ll happily make an exception for him! Then again, I have a thing for snarky badasses in general, so it’s no wonder I love him. Ari and I have that in common, actually. Give us a book/movie/TV show with a snarky badass who is the anti-hero, and that’ll be the character we both adore.
As a woman of a certain age, I appreciate the scenery and the adult-themed plotlines on True Blood much more than the young actors and teen drama plotlines on The Vampire Diaries. Last season of TVD was particularly difficult to get through because I developed a dislike for all but a small handful of characters on the show, but as long as Ian is there, snarking away as Damon Salvatore, I’ll tune in. Same thing for the spin-off show, which I’ll probably watch only for Elijah.
ANYWAY. This right here is my Evan:
Suffice to say, researching photos to use as visual inspiration wasn’t at all a hardship for me. *cough*