Friday, March 14, 2008

Collage helps my creative process

As promised here is my collage of ideas which feeds my creative process regarding story construction.
I love Powerpoint. Starting with a blank page, I can add big or small pix, text or whatever. For my writing collages it's mainly for pix, though.
I'm attaching some jpg files of the Powerpoint slides I have used for my previous story. I usually keep one page or more for each topic. EG the first one is for heroine's setting: (Click on images to see larger versions.)

I just look for pix online that feature aspects I'm thinking I might use. (Add to page via copy and paste) In this story the heroine owns a B&B and is where she meets up again with school friend hero. Quite a lot of interaction and different scenes happen here and in the garden.
Another slide is setting pix for the rockclimbing and abseiling aspects of the story.

Here the main characters H/h have a slide but other settings like the country pub are here too. If I can't find a pic that's exactly as I visualize, I just insert a couple of different ones for an eclectic mix!!
The pix can be edited easily and shuffled on the slide to format or resize or cut and pasted to another page as required.

This slide was for careers, cars and children.
The best thing about a Powerpoint file is it can be as big or small as needed because if more inspiration is needed then an entire slide can be inserted, cut or the order rearranged by dragging and dropping.
I found these slides most useful for getting the feel for the settings. Pix mostly came from real estate ads, these helped big time. AND the entire display is always only a click away, filed with my WIP.

As usual photo files can be quite large, though usually online they are already resized. In order for the Powerpoint file to remain small, it is important to format the pictures before saving the file. Here's what I do: Right click on the pic, then choose Format Picture, then choose in lower left of box Compress, in Compress Pictures box click on all of these: All Pictures in Document; Resolution to Web/Screen (you will notice the res changes to 96 dpi) and BOTH lower options for compressing and deleting cropped sections of pictures. Click OK then OK again in the other Format Picture box.
Also when I am done I select all pix on each page by clicking the mouse in the top left of the slide and dragging it to form a box down to the bottom right. This selects all pix on the slide and then I do the following: In box after right click choose Grouping > click Group (this selects all pictures within the dotted line box made from the mouse). If you want to edit or add pix you need to do the same only Ungroup beforehand. This step is not necessary but I find it useful. Once these are grouped they can be saved as jpg files or whatever, which is what I did for this blog.
I hope none of this sounded basic or condescending - that was not my intention.
Let me know if any of this was useful or not, or if I omitted some aspect.
Regards Annie


Sandie Hudson said...

Hi Annie
You are such a clever little cookie. Your collages are wonderful.
Have a great weekend.

Chicki said...

This is a fantastic idea! I've always done the cut and paste thing. Going to try this for my next story.


Annie Doyle said...

Thanks for the comments Sandie and Chicki. Glad you like them. The separate slides can be printed once arranged, if you like the old way of hanging collages on the wall.

H Maree Davis said...

This was exactly what I needed today Annie! I have this file full of pics related to the wip and no idea how to use them without printing everything out and cutting and pasting - and then the sizes are all wrong.

Thank you.

H! :)

Annie Doyle said...

H, I know what you mean about sizes. Some of the pics can cover the entire slide. That's the beauty of this. Regards and you're most welcome!!

Kerri Williams writer of romance said...

He he. And you thought you might seem condescending. It'll be a right old laugh as i attempt this. Don't think it was from the lack of how good you explained it. It's just, well, i must have some sort of male gene. I dont seem to be able to follow directions.
I will try and at least i actually read them.
Great idea though and thanks.
Happy writing

Kerri Williams writer of romance said...

Thanks for your offer, dont be suprised if i take you up on it.
I'm a shocker.
But I'm sure your instructions will be sufficient enough.

Annie Doyle said...

Only too happy to help Kez, but without knowing the specifics I'm not sure where to advise. Would help me too!!! LOL Go on, email me!! Promise I won't bite.