I am an alpha personality: I live by lists, I like things ordered a certain way, I like to be in charge, I like to be on time. So you would think I use storyboarding to plot my novels, right?
Wrong! This past weekend was the first time I ever attempted a storyboard. And let me tell you: It was wonderful. I started out by drawing a line across an 11 x 24 sheet of paper for a timeline. I’ve always loved timelines, so it made sense for me to do it this way. Plus, my story has a backstory spanning ten years.
Then, I began writing major plot points onto post-it notes, sideways. This way, I could write multiple points on a single post-it, cut the post-it apart, and stick the post-it piece where I wanted. The backstory managed to fit on one page, as the image suggests.
The main year of my story covers two pages, as seen here, and here. The second page is where everything gets thrown at my main character… you can tell because the post-its are packed together and there are multiple dots of color everywhere. The last page, the conclusion of the story, is understandably less. I span my conclusion out over a couple months.
So what are the dots, you ask? The dots of color stand for each character that has their own complete subplot/story arc. I created a legend to help.
But why create a storyboard, Belinda? Your WIP meter says you’re 57% complete! Yes, well… that was true about a month ago, when the muse was flowing. Then I started writing a scene where I realized I didn’t know why the characters were arguing, just that they were. I freaked out, shut the file, walked away from the computer. I started reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers and found my manuscript riddled with weak writing. As I started applying the rules, the heart of my story shone. A lot of little things happen where it helps me to know the month, so I started thinking of a timeline. And since I finished the storyboard, the muse returned. I even have my ending drafted, something sweet yet not cavity-inducing; I’m pretty pleased.
* Image by Organic Designs