Is Your Writing Pinteresting? 3 Uncommon Ways to Curate Literary Characters

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Pinterest has established itself as one of the most addictive content curation tools on the web. Users from all walks of life maintain boards on everything from appetizers to graphic design ideas to tattoos. I keep some of my favorite recipes there, right beside my collection of Brilliant or Insane pins. Pinterest is a great tool for teachers, too.

This is what I love most about Pinterest: it’s ability to reveal the variety and complexity of our individual interests. And this is what makes it a perfect tool for curating and crafting literary characters.

Let me explain.

As the founder of the WNY Young Writer’s Studio, I have the opportunity to watch writers of all ages use Pinterest in a bunch of different ways, but a good many of them enjoy using it as a vision board for the drafts they are working on. It lends itself to character work very well. Here’s how:

3 Pinteresting Ways to Curate Literary Characters:

1. Pretend

Curating pins can deepen a writer’s understanding of her characters and provide new insights as well. Tara Cronin, a former member of our adult writing group, learned more about her characters by creating Pinterest boards that reflected their interests rather than her own. One board was devoted to the character’s wardrobe, another to the design of her home, another to her appearance, and so on. Pretending to pin as her character was an uncommon but very rewarding approach.

2. Quotes as Catalysts

Pinterest is packed with powerful quotes, and writers collect them with intention. I’ve been using quotes as catalysts in classrooms for the last few years. I find that they help writers add complexity to their characters and realize the connection between what they do and the greater theme. For instance, how might this quote inform character development? How might it inspire the development of theme as well?

3. Setting as Character

I’m compelled by the role that setting plays in storytelling. Often, setting is as much character as place, and Pinterest helps us leverage this potential well. When writers pin places, their descriptions of them become far more detailed and purposeful. This is what it means to take advantage of 21st century learning tools.

Interested in using Pinterest to power up your own writing? Try this:

  • Consider which aspects of your character you would like to know more about. Create a board for these purposes, and use Pinterest to research in order to discover more.
  • Once you’ve begun filling your boards, revisit your pins and zoom in on the visuals. Use the details to enrich your writing.
  • Share your boards with those who will peer review your work. Ask them to compare the images they see to the text you’ve written. This can help them craft better feedback.

Have you cooked up your own fun and inventive activities with Pinterest? I hope you’ll share them in the comments.

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A former English teacher, Angela Stockman is the founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing in Buffalo, New York. She is also an education consultant with expertise in curriculum design, instructional coaching, and assessment. Read more from Angela at

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