The Bookworm’s Guide to making Aesthetics (including aesthetics for what might or might not be my future WIP)

If you’ve been following me on my twitter, you’ve probably noticed at least one of the aesthetics I’ve been making the past few weeks. I love making aesthetics and I’ve made several for both published books and people’s NaNoWriMo projects (of course I’m not procrastinating nooo). And people have been asking me how I made them, so here I am explaining in a step-by-step guide how to make aesthetics. So you can now become as awesome as I am 😛

Aesthetics are just collages of pictures that look pretty together and fit a theme. This theme, is for me usually a book or story. It can, however, be anything you want! To illustrate every step, I will be showing you exactly how I make an aesthetic by making one as I write this post.

I had this story idea a few days ago that apparently everybody loved so I’m going to use that. It’s a contemporary Alice in Wonderland retelling about Alice who suffers from psychosis and works in a hat shop, it also features a therapist in training (who is constantly high…), a mom that bakes cakes that taste like magic, and a very cute cat!

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Step #1: Fantastic pictures and where to find them

For your collage you, of course, want the best pictures. And you’re not going to find them on google images, you might try but it’s surprisingly hard. Instead, you can use Pinterest and WeHeartIt. Both are completely free and work quite similar to each other.

WeHeartIt is a personal favourite of mine but it can be quite hard to find pictures you love. I’ve been using it for many many years and have saved (or ‘hearted’) many beautiful images I use constantly.

Pinterest is much more accessible for beginners, and searching something in the search bar will usually not leave you feeling unsatisfied.

Both platforms allow you to save pictures on boards/in collections, which makes it easy to look at all the things you’ve saved and collect pretty pictures.

Step #2: how to find them

Finding the pictures you love has only a few tricks. You need keywords, things that are related to the theme of your collage. If this would be for example Six of Crows, keywords could be: crows, Amsterdam (Ketterdam is based on Amsterdam), thieves, heist, playing cards, magic, etc. Usually while looking for pictures, you’ll get inspired for new keywords.

So the best tip there is, is to add “aesthetic” after your keyword when you search for it. It’s a little thing but can improve your search results so much!

When looking for pictures, it is important to keep in mind whether you want a color scheme. Having a color scheme often improves your end result a lot!

So my search terms would be: cat, Alice in wonderland, chess, red roses, mental illness, psychosis, baking, and so on. I am sticking to a beige with red/orange color scheme.

post aesthetic1
Example of what you find when you search for “painted roses aesthetic” on pinterest

And then you just download all the pictures you want! You better have too many than too few!

Step #3: What’s next

So you’ve found your pictures, what’s next? It depends on what you want but an aesthetic collage could have four pictures up to however many you want. You can make them square and have 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 squares etc, but you can also make rectangles of 2×3, 2×4 and so on.

I really love the 3×3 square so that’s what I’ll be using. For this one you need 9 pictures (obviously).

For making collages I always use ipiccy, which is completely free and online software.

post aesthetic2
The interface of ipiccy.com

You can press “add images” and add all your images and then comes the most fun part!

Step #4: Making it look nice

Now that you’ve found your pictures and uploaded them to wherever you’re making your collage, you can drag them to your collage! You can do them randomly of course, but there are a few tricks to making it look nice!

  1. Alice2Don’t make it too busy, if you add a lot of busy pictures, it can get quite overwhelming. For example the picture on the right. It is quite pretty, but it is a bit too busy, with many pictures and colors all asking for your attention at the same time.
  2. Adding quotes: I love using quotes because they are calm and make the aesthetic in general look more pleasing. You can find quotes on pinterest as well.
  3. Using a checkerboard layout: meaning you alternate pictures that have a similar color or feel to it. If you have two colors, you can alternate them. I usually also try to alternate quotes or at least not have only quotes in one row. As you can see in the picture below, having the five pictures forming a cross have the same colors and tones, and having the other four pictures having similar colors, gives it a nice balanced look. Another trick is to use symmetry to your advantage, as you can see the picture in the top left and the bottom right are very similar, so are the picture on the top right and bottom left. Alice1
  4. Play around, try different things and see what works well.
  5. Once you’re satisfied with your layout, you can also do some post-editing if you like. I usually use the photo editing software from my laptop (I don’t know what it’s called, but it was already on my laptop when I got it). I use hue, saturation, and temperature to make it seem a bit more similar. It gives it a bit more atmosphere and gives it overall a more coherent feeling.

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The final result

Alice3 (2)

I have decided to go with this design, but of course tastes differ so don’t take my tips as rules but just as guidelines. You can do whatever you want with your aesthetics. This post is just to help you along the way!

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Do you like making aesthetics? Any tips or tricks I should know about? Are you going to try making some aesthetics after reading this post? I’d love to see them! If you think this is too hard, you can also message me, and I would love to make you aesthetics!

NaNoWriMo update week 3 | I’m still alive. Kinda.

Week three of NaNoWriMo has arrived and it has gotten harder and harder to keep up with the 1.667 words per day. Not only is it harder to find the motivation, I also got a bit more school work to do. New classes at my university started and I’m already behind (oops), but I also have to attend more classes and work more on projects. So time is a bit of an issue. But somehow I’m still on schedule.

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo update week 3 | I’m still alive. Kinda.”

NaNoWriMo update week 2 | Motivation is Hard to Find but I’m Still Going Strong

 

This is the second week of November and I’ve officially been writing for NaNoWriMo twelve days and it have been twelve crazy days. At the beginning of week two of NaNoWriMo (last Wednesday), my motivation was so low! I just couldn’t get myself to write and eventually had to force myself to keep going. After that Wednesday, things went up and down, my motivation is still not that high but it’s better than it was. On Friday I almost didn’t write at all, which was so demotivating! However, on Saturday, I suddenly wrote 3k.

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo update week 2 | Motivation is Hard to Find but I’m Still Going Strong”

NaNoWriMo update week 1 | November is here and I am hyped!

NaNoWriMo has started and I am so excited! Last week I wrote about how I really wasn’t excited and since then a lot has changed! On Tuesday, the day before NaNo started, I finally realized that working on a WIP that didn’t excite me anymore wasn’t gonna do me any good. I, instead, changed my story idea to something that I’ve been wanting to write since this summer and had been afraid to start. And it is so much fun to write!! More about that story idea later.

What I noticed already is that my drafting is going way easier and faster, because I’ve finally come to realize that drafting does not need to be perfect. My draft is gonna be a mess, with incoherent sentences, spelling errors, repetitions and messy dialogue and you know what? THAT’S OKAY. This draft can be as messy as I want it to be because in the words of Jen Wang: First drafts are like practicing dance moves in your room alone in the dark; it doesn’t matter what it looks like because it’s just for you.

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So what’s my story idea?

You might remember, I once wrote a post with several story ideas that I was considering writing for NaNoWriMo, one of those was a transgender Mulan retelling. I was so excited for that one and I’ve finally decided to just go for it. Research can come later, now I just need to get the story out.

The story initially was set in 5-6th century China because that is where the story of Mulan originated but I’ve decided to change it to modern-day China. I wanted to include modern media and it was much easier to make the story diverse, which is something I really wanted.

My current working title is Making Mountains Bow. The story is about Xiulan, who is a transgender boy but not openly because his family doesn’t understand. I don’t want to spoil the entire story but it includes: an amazing sibling relationship, quirky friends, a tragic death, a war, dragons, expectations, betrayal, battles, strong male and female characters, and much more!

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Character Aesthetics

I have created many character aesthetics for my story, some of which are below! Some of these characters I haven’t introduced yet and there’s even one that I have no clue how to work into the story.

char Xiulan
Xiulan
Adobe Spark
Guiying
Kailee Aes
Kailee
Mars aes
Mars
An
An

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Stats

I’ve currently written 6.813 words and I’m really happy with that! I hope to write another 1-1.5k today, but I have obligations so I’m not sure I’ll be able to write a lot. So far I’ve had one day on which I just couldn’t write more than 1k, which was because I wasn’t feeling very well.

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Snippets

I’m having a hard time finding snippets I love, because the prose I use right now is not that good. But that doesn’t matter right now, anyway, I can change it in the rewrite. I do have a lot of dialogue that I just love so here are some snippets from that:


“You look like shit,” she said pointedly. Another thing about Kailee, she never knew when not to talk. She had no filters between what she thought and what she said.

“Well, thanks, I hadn’t noticed,” he said sarcastically. He felt like it too.

“Wild night?” she smiled, “got to meet any cute girls?” She and her girlfriend had just broken up a few weeks ago but she was already on the look-out for new flings.

“Ha, if you call my sister cute, then yes. Or champagne, is champagne a cute girl? I met a lot of champagne.”

She grinned widely, “ooh got a little tipsy, then?”

“I think I rambled on about the stars, walked into twenty people, puked in a bush and then woke up with an axe hammering my head. Figuratively then.”

“So your ordinary Friday night.”


“I’m sorry for ruining your night,” he said softly, the guilt biting at his voice.

“No! You didn’t ruin it, you were a sweet drunk. Very… wise.”

He chuckled, “oh god, I made a fool out of myself, didn’t I?”

“Only a little bit.”


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How is writing going for you? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? What’s your favourite snippet that you wrote in your NaNo project? Any tips or tricks you’ve discovered?

I am looking for people who are Chinese and/or transgender and would like to help me out with the representation, so if you’re either of those and don’t mind me contacting you ask some questions while writing, please let me know!

The Book Aesthetics Tag

I wasn’t even planning on doing many tags now after I’ve binged so many over the summer but then Michelle came up with this awesome tag and I couldn’t resist! I am addicted to aesthetics lately because the pinterest fever finally came to me and I cannot stop. (no the pinterest fever is not an actual thing, sometimes I make stuff up)

I was tagged by both Michelle and Kat and they both made wonderful aesthetics so go check out their posts (and their blogs too because they’re amazing). Thank you both for feeding my aesthetics addiction 🙂

Rules

💛 Thank whoever nominated you (maybe you’re bitter that you have ANOTHER tag to do on top of the billions you already need to do (#relatable), still though. Someone thought of you. Be thankful. At least pretend to be
💛 Credit the creator of this tag (Michelle!)
💛 There’s no limit of how many aesthetics you can make for a question, but think of your poor readers.
💛 Make your OWN aesthetics, please don’t steal them from someone else. Also what’s the fun in that?

P.s. I might steal them from myself though because I make aesthetics quite often and why not reuse images I found before?

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Favourite book of the year

WITH NO DOUBT: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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A Character You Relate To A Lot

Kiko from Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman! She’s awkward and loves art and her relationships with family aren’t very well. She also has social anxiety (which I don’t) and is bi-racial (which I also am not), but still, she’s very relatable!

Kiko

A Character You Look Up To

I love Cinder. Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles is such an amazing character, I could learn a lot from her.

cinder

An Underrated Gem

I just read this over the summer and loved it. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin is so underrated!

symptomsofbeinghuman

A Character That Deserves More Love

Evie from Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne just has the worst luck when it comes to boys tbh?? I do still ship her with Olli though, but she deserves someone who deserves her! Still, she has the best friends anyone could ask for (seriously, give me a Lottie and Amber please). She also has OCD (not that that has anything to do with this but I feel the need to let you know).

Spinster club

An Underrated OTP

Can I just say Kady and Ezra from Illuminae *dies*

KadyEzra

I didn’t include pictures of Ezra because I honestly can’t remember what he looked like… Oops.

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I’m going to tag a few people that I think will love this (if you don’t want to do this that’s okay!):  Ara, Laura, May, BrionyLauraSavannah, Kate, and YOU!

What’s your favourite book of the year? Underrated books that I must read? Which character deserves more love?

Camp NaNoWriMo Weekly Update #3

It was a bit of a strange week, on some days I wrote a lot on some not at all. For those who (still) don’t know what it is, Camp NaNoWriMo is basically a smaller version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), in which you can set your own goal. For NaNoWriMo your goal is 50k, but for Camp NaNoWriMo I set my goal to 15k.

I have just finished the one-but-last chapter I was planning to write for Camp, and tomorrow and the day after I will write the last. It feels good to have so many words down already, but I feel I’m getting into the mid-month slump. Luckily, or sadly, depending on how you see it, I will only be participating for two more days. I’m going on vacation and won’t have my laptop with me.

I am really looking forward to going away and I plan on getting some more inspiration while I’m away and maybe add some minor storylines and add some character development, things like that! I think a small break from writing can really help me get inspired again! I will be writing (or at least try to) while I’m away, but that will be on paper. With an actual pen. Yeah, I guess I’ll see how that goes!

Continue reading “Camp NaNoWriMo Weekly Update #3”

Camp NaNoWriMo Weekly update #5 | The end.

Wow, just wow. It’s Wednesday evening as I’m writing this and I just finished my final words. I just went to the camp page and entered my final word count and just wow. I feel so incredibly good. I feel like dancing and screaming and crying and just everything at the same time, but first I’m going to finish this post.

So what happened since Sunday, I wrote wrote wrote and then wrote some more. When you’re reading this I’ll be camping (yeah for real this time), I’ll be away from Thursday until Sunday and writing is not really the easiest thing to do on a camping, so I decided to just go for it and write so much I won’t have to write much anymore when I was camping. Due to my horrible math skills (seriously writing is eating up my neurons, one by one, until I can no longer do math), I miscalculated and was done a lot earlier (as several thousand words and one evening earlier) than I thought.

My book is far from complete. There are a million things I have yet to add and I’m only about halfway through my story. I’ve added so much and wrote so much more words than I had planned, so it all stretched out a bit. I’m planning on continuing writing during May and June and maybe participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in July, although I will probably go on vacation and miss most of July. I’m planning to make it to 60k and wrap it up as my first draft. Yes, that’s right, there’s going to be a second draft. As I was writing, I was already thinking up things I wanted to add and relationships I wanted to elaborate on, characters I wanted to put more depth in, conversations I wanted to improve.

I’m going to do a more elaborate post on things I’ve learned from Camp NaNo later but this is just my initial thoughts on my process and finishing.

As I’m finished writing for this month (I don’t think I’ll be writing much for the rest of it), I’m thinking of a new name for my book. Currently, I’m using Drive On as my temporary title, but that was back when most of the book was about the road trip, now it’s a smaller part of the book (about half probably). The idea behind that title was that it was about continuing life after something horrible happened, keep on going, drive on. However, I kind of dislike it. I’ve got a list of titles I like but none of them are perfect, either I think they’re cheesy (this book is not cheesy) or not fitting.

It’s so weird to call it a book, like, I’m no writer, how can I call it a book, but on the other hand: I write. Which in conclusion means I’m a writer. I think, therefore I am, right? I write, therefore I’m a writer.

Snippets

You pass so many faces every day and yet you never stand still and wonder who these people are. They’re there, but they might as well not have been there at all. Ghosts, with a face and a name, but nothing more.

The city sparkles below us and the sky above us. “You know how stars that shine the brightest, burn up the fastest? I read about it online a while ago, it’s because of the heat of the fuel, I don’t really remember.” I trail off, “It reminds me of mom. Mom was probably the brightest star on the horizon.”

Random thought #1: this last one is actually the final lines in my draft at this moment and oh my gosh it’s the perfect way to end this project.

Random thought #2: I should call my novel: Bright Stars Burn Fast (or quickly? or swift? What do you think?).

Aesthetics

aes week 5 (2)

If you want to follow my aesthetics board on weheartit, you can find me here.

Happy writing! How did your Camp NaNo end? Happy or not?