Wednesday, July 28

Do You Storyboard?

Hello, I'm Kristi and I've discovered a new plotting (gasp!) option: storyboarding. What does that mean exactly? Using a storyboard, kind of like the squares in a comic strip, to help you stay on course to tell the story. I'm actually starting my first storyboard (technically I have started it, it just needs work) next week -- when I start really planning the next WIP. I have a large storyboard on a big chalkboard that I salvaged from a garage sale a few years ago. It covers the main events in the story arcs of the hero/heroine and the main events in the story.

I was in a meeting (that had nothing to do with writing) and we began storyboarding different goals, etc. and something just clicked. I've been working on ways to better develop the characters in the wips...had tried the interview/conversation and a few other things but they always seemed too long and, okay, a little boring. I like the storyboarding concept because it adds a bit of depth but not too much (because with too much information I might know too much about the WIP and how do I get lost in the story then!?!?).
Here's how I do it: I give each main character one goal or outcome for the book. They have to have a reason for being there and it can't just be 'because of Y extenuating circumstance). I put that goal in a big star or circle shape on my diagram. Next, I create four or five stumbling blocks - maybe the H/h actually interfere with her goal, maybe other secondary characters impact his or her life. All of those stumbling blocks are placed in rectangles and the stumbling blocks can be moments that impact the story as a whole. At the end of the diagram is another star or circle of that story arc completed - the character met or didn't meet the goal (if they didn't, that could set up a sequel)...

The whole diagram winds up looking like this (imagine these words as the actual symbols): STAR---------RECTANGLE-------RECTANGLE------RECTANGLE-----RECTANGLE------STAR.

So far I like's kind of plotting but with less information. At least for me. We've talked plotting vs. pantsing before, but do you find -- whether a pantster or a plotter -- than one method of diagramming/planning/writing a story works better for you?


  1. Plotting? That's just sick, Kristi. And undoubtedly something I should try!

  2. hahahaha! I've (admittedly) only done minor storyboarding and it's for the upcoming wip. I like it, but like many plotting things I've tried, have no idea how long I can keep it up. I always seem to forget to update/change/alter/whatever type of plotting tools I use as I work through a wip. And I rarely write anything according to plan!

  3. I've done this before, sort of, on a piece of typing paper. I write what happens in each chapter.
    I lilke it, but I don't do it very often. I usually forget.

  4. Hey, I took a storyboarding class! It was actually going pretty well until the roof in the laundry room collapsed under a downpour and soaked the entire project. I should give that another shot...hmmm...=)

  5. I bought a piece of dry erase poster board to try something like that out. It's still blank. Oh well...

    I really like the idea of storyboarding, and the fact that you can draw little shapes, but I just can't commit.

  6. Margie, D'Ann and Carrie, I'm right there with you. I like it so far -- but then it's like a shiny new toy at Christmas. I like it today, tomorrow may be another story.