Maybe you think you know what an IdeaBoard is.

But I’m here to needle you by saying, maybe you don’t know all it CAN be.

For example, perhaps you used context clues and your own good sense to surmise that an IdeaBoard is a board on which an author places ideas about his or her novel. And you’d be right.

But there’s more!

I recently used the idea of an IdeaBoard to visually telegraph complex ideas to readers at a local book festival. I wanted a way to catch people’s attention and pique their interest in my book, Memory’s Hostage, besides just the bright red copies splayed out on the table, heating up in the summer sun.

collage ideaboard memory's hostage novel

Instead of snaring passersby with words, which can seem pestering or sales-y, I tried to let the eyes of the attendees of the festival roam over the laminated collages I’d whipped together. We are such visual creatures, preferring sight to our other senses in almost every context! (I’ll leave it to you to imagine the situations where sight is not the preferred sense)

And then peppered them with questions. Or let them ask me!

I pointed out a few of the pieces of the Memory’s Hostage collage above:

  • Queen Victoria’s reign
  • policeman
  • Aberdeen
  • a clawfoot tub
  • hypnotism
  • detectives
  • anarchists
  • different social classes

How do they all fit together?  you might well ask… and I’d have an answer!

Which is the whole point.

But I did this after the publication of the novel as a marketing aid, not in preparation as a brainstorming project.

The other collage though, was created after the writing and editing, but before publication.

It’s for my second novel, working title (back to) Dulci.

(P.S. Titles are so HARD)

In this collage, I played more with textures and images, since the specific scenes will still go through some editing, and may completely disappear or twist into a new shape before publication.


  • a key hidden in flower-bird paper
  • the Landing of the Hector
  • woodworking tools from the 17th to 19th centuries
  • a Native American family
  • spidery script with the words “Nova Scotia”
  • a rough-hewn knife
  • hot chocolate
  • blue mittens
  • a beat-up old truck

Once you see the moving parts, aren’t you a little more interested in how they fit together?

villain rubbing hands

Yes, I think I may actually be enjoying this piece of marketing homework!