Mood-board Your Book

Moodboard Your Book


Chapter One Moodboard Your Book


Why Moodboard Your Book?

Why moodboard your book, you ask? Yes, you do. It can been seen as a bit of fun before you get into the nitty gritty of writing your book. You select pictures, items, scent, music etc as you make your mood-board. This engages your subconscious mind and how your moodboard turns out can make major differences in the story you were intending to write.

I recently introduced the possibility of using moodboards to my writing group as a way of figuring out the book your mind wants to write. All I did was take a stack of magazines, picked some leaves and flowers on the way, took scissors, glue roller and paper to the group. We had a discussion where some members said that thinking up the ideas or refining them enough to start writing one story was sometimes a block to their writing.

As we each picked what we wanted to paste to our paper we talked about what we were writing, how it was going and what new possibilities in our writing were showing up. At the end we looked in some detail at each person’s selection, they told us what they felt and we joined in with anything else that we had picked up on.


My MB is above and I started on the upper left and went around the paper to the lower left. I have a leafy dell that could lead you anywhere; even into a magic land. An interesting house on a hillside, two children on a swing near water, an underwater swimmer with no scuba gear, chocolate pudding in a mug (comfort food), a man who can be a dwarf, blacksmith, sculptor, god (he was a chef), a sunlit girl full of the joy of life, fairies, inspiration, wands, a shattered image and rainbow light doves on the hand of a woman in white. A story that roams from normal life to a magical journey springs to mind.

One woman who is in the last throes of finishing a book based on two real facts but her thoughts of how that life might have been lived has recently started, via a new short story, down the road of a possible YA fantasy. Her board showed some of the settings and trials for the main action, some possible visuals of the characters within. We suggested that as a “moonstone” is a major crystal involved in her story that she get one and glue that on the MB also. Her overall arc had an Earth sensibility to it.

Another lady who has completed a book on the life of her son who has a rare genetic problem was not sure she had another story that was not reality based within her. Her MB was Nature orientated with flowers, an Indian house barge on the lake, green leaves and exotic plants. It gave her a sense of peace and joy. We suggested that she check out if the flowers had specific meanings that could give her ideas. In many ways it may have been leaning towards a spiritual book as she has strong beliefs that have helped her in her life.

The lady who has written a book using her travel diaries put JOY at the centre of her MB and surrounded it with the things that bring her joy. It was family, love, traveling, writing and various places she had visited. She is hoping to make her book into an audiobook so that people with limited vision may experience the joy she felt exploring new places throughout the world.

Moodboard Your Book

This mood-board I populated with lighthouses and sea pictures as I am writing a MG book on lighthouse living as a child and being able to help capture drug smugglers using the surrounding waters as part of their importation route. There are a number of things that you can include in your moodboards if you want to make them fully inspire you.


This is the major part of your moodboard as you would expect. The images can come from a number of places; from the Internet, your own photos, old cards/postcards, from magazines, art catalogues or other books, even something you have drawn yourself. You may actively pursue specific images if you have a topic in mind. You can let your subconscious lead you if you want inspiration to strike.

The images you have chosen can show colors that may give you the mood you want reflected in your story. They can give you the setting you want your reader to imagine as they get drawn into your world. The style of clothing can be used to make your character believable. The food and drink can be incidental for your story but add depth.If you added real flora it will remind you of the scent or the glory of the plant and if you know the meanings attached to them you add another layer within your story.

Some images may involve action happening; scuba diving, mountain climbing, driving fast cars, flying away on a plane, surfing etc. This can tie in with the action you have put into your story to advance the plot and grow your characters. It will help you figure out the next action plot point if you have a bit of writer’s block.


The image colours you choose or the colours you may write over them with will help you set the mood of your story. A moodboard with light cheerful colours may be a romance or children’s book. If the colours are tending towards the darker side it make be a horror, gothic or paranormal book. War movies don’t show many bright sunny days, even though we all know weather runs in cycles, and there must have been sunny days that were filled with death and destruction; we expect gloominess. In your writing this has to be taken into account unless you want that utter contrast to really tweak the story into throat gripping territory.

Colour theory

There are other colours and gradations that also have their own meaning but this is a good start on your research. Put the colour in the centre of the MB that you want to concentrate on when creating your mood within the board and it will help you have a theme be created.

Purple – Royal, mysterious, luxury, creative, sad

Green – envy, balance, restful, natural, eco-friendly

Red – love, passion, energy, anger, hunger

Blue – trust, smart, stable, power, faith, calm

Yellow – warmth, cheer, fresh, optimist, childish

Black – evil, strength, power, mystery, bold, elegance


Some writers like to use music as part of their music. It helps them get into the headspace of their characters and the action they want to happen. You might want a digital moodboard on your desktop that is a shortcut to your musical muse selection. Bagpipe music will definitely get you into writing about all those braw highland warriors you have time travelled to meet. Baroque music for that Austrian court intrigue and the list goes on. You create the list (i.e. mood-board) for your particular story.

The music helps create the atmosphere. It doesn’t have to be loud. It can be this almost subliminal sound that barely penetrates your writing haze if you want or you may turn it up louder as you get to a place of action. A  writer I recently read inserted a ghostly piper when an important change in the character’s life was about to occur.

For continuity

You may use the moodboard to ensure that all the action, characters and settings you wanted in your book are there. If you modeled your character on an image you can lift your head up and look at that image to make sure you have written exactly what they look like and not changed it accidentally. The same follows for action and setting.

You may have numbered the actions in the order you want them to appear and if you crossed the number out as it was included in the book you know what your next action will be. You can then lead into it with a good story line beforehand.

The setting is in front of you so it too can be written as if you are looking out your window and the reader will see/feel what you want them too. In their imaginations that image should grow through what you have written for them. Never great swathes of description but enough that the reader can fill in the blanks from what they have seen on TV, visited themselves or read in books.

What You Need to Moodboard Your Book

Item Reason
 CRAYONS-crayola-8728468-550-550 Crayons, felt tips, markers and pens to write things you want emphasized


 magazines_seologic A variety of magazines, books,  photos, printed Internet images etc that speak to you
 Glues_Collection_Banners_1024x1024 You want to stick images on the paper and have it last so chose a good version. I like the roller glue for ease of use but your choice.
g90536-pcs-lot-Cute-Kids-DIY-Decorative-Craft-Scissors-for-Paper-Fabric-Tape-Cutting-Photo-Album Paper cutting scissors with sharp blades to cut out your images, can use fancy edged ones if you want too.
10322-1003-3-3ww-lcoloured-tissue-paper-1522460 Paper to paste images on if they are not going up on your wall or onto a pinboard.

Bring your imagination. Have some fun. Figure out your next project


Call to action:

  • Make a moodboard for your next project or the one you are stuck on now
  • Post it as a comment so we can all see the joy and creativity it unleashed
  • Let me know if you finish the story. Nanowrimo is not far away. This could be part of this year’s planning.

7 thoughts on “Mood-board Your Book

  1. I really enjoyed this post. It is a fascinating idea I never would have come up with. I will definitely be trying it in the next few days. For my Writer Wednesday post this week I will be reposting it for my readers.


    1. I checked out your blog and one of the articles you had reposted. I liked them. I enjoyed trying out mood boards for writing with my writing group and we all found it got our creativity flowing. we took random images from a variety of magazine because we liked them. At the end, we could spin a good story from those images. And its FUN TO DO. It has the highest views on my blog so far. I am happy for you to reblog it.


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