Novel Moodboard Template

Novel Moodboard Template, within the Milanote app

Save inspiration & generate ideas for a novel

A moodboard (or "inspiration board") is the perfect way to save inspiration and generate new ideas for your story. It's a technique used by designers, filmmakers, and photographers but works just as well for creative writing.

Moodboards can help you visualize any aspect of your story. Collect and organize relevant character and scene inspiration, reference imagery, or video, then arrange them on Milanote's free-form canvas.

This template is part of our guide on How to plan a novel.

  • Explore ideas
  • Organize visually
  • Share with your team & clients
  • Gather feedback
  • Export to PDF

How to use this template

Whether you’re writing a novel or a screenplay, follow this step-by-step guide to learn the modern process of creating a moodboard for your story in Milanote, a free tool used by top creatives.

1. Start with an empty template

The Novel Moodboard template contains beautifully composed placeholders for images, video and color swatches. Just drag and drop your content onto the board to create a moodboard in minutes.

Empty writers moodboard template
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a new board for your moodboard.

    Create a new board

    Drag a board out from the toolbar. Give it a name, then double click to open it.

  2. Choose a moodboard template.

    Choose a template 

    Each new board gives you the options to start with a beautiful template.

2. Collect existing material

Now that you've chosen a moodboard template, start adding any existing material you have—this could include images you've saved to your computer as inspiration. Just drag and drop them onto your board.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Drag files from your computer.

    Upload a file or document  

    Click the "Upload file" button or just drag a file onto your board. You can add images, logos, documents, videos, audio and much more.

3. Add inspiring imagery

The imagery you bring into your moodboard is what helps you express the feel of your story. Images can help you define things like tone, emotion, or a feeling you might be struggling to capture as you're writing. Use Milanote's built-in image library or search for visual elements from around the web.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Use the built-in image library.

    Use the built-in image library

    Search over 500,000 beautiful photos powered by Unsplash then drag images straight onto your board.

  2. Install the Milanote Web Clipper

  3. Save images from other websites straight to your board.

    Save content from the web

    Roll over an image (or highlight text), click Save, then choose the destination in Milanote. Return to your board and find the content in the "Unsorted" column on the right.

4. Describe the mood using color

Color can be a great way to express a particular feel, personality or energy. As painter Johannes Itten said, “Color is life.” Tools like Kuler can be a great starting point for finding colors that work well together. Another trick is to pick colors directly from the images and photos you've added to the board.

Adding color to a moodboard for a novel
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a color swatch to a board.

    Add a color swatch

    Drag a Note card onto your board, enter your colour #HEX code and press enter. E.g. Teal looks like this: #008080

5. Refine the layout

Once you have all your inspiration in one place, the next step is to arrange your ideas to create the perfect composition. Try combining different elements together. This is where you'll start to see new ideas appear. Perhaps the combination of two unrelated images will trigger an exciting new storyline.

Adding video to a moodboard for a novel
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Resize your images to add hierarchy.

    Resize images

    Drag the corner of an image to resize it. Double-click the corner to return it to its original size.

  2. Crop images.

    Crop images

    Double-click an image and press edit to crop or rotate it.

6. Collaborate and build on your ideas

It always helps to bounce ideas off other people. As writer Louisa May Alcott said, "It takes two flints to make a fire." A digital moodboard is especially useful for this step as you can easily connect and collaborate online. Invite a writing partner to add a fresh perspective to your moodboard.

Commenting on a moodboard for a novel
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Invite someone else to edit to your board.

    Invite editors to your board

    Open the "Editors" menu from the title bar of your board. Add email addresses of the people you'd like to collaborate with—they'll receive an invitation via email.

  2. Collaborate in real time.

    Collaborate in real time.

    When multiple people on your team edit a board at once you'll see their updates appear in real-time.

You're done!

Now that your moodboard is complete, you have a powerful visual reference for your story and hopefully a bunch of new ideas. Remember, you can create multiple moodboards to explore different aspects of your story at any time.

Start your Novel Moodboard

Collect inspiration and generates ideas with this free template