Storyboard Your Plots: It’s Not Just For Movies
When I’m plotting out a book, I use a storyboard – I’ll have maybe three lines across on the storyboard and just start working through the plotline. I always know where relationships will go and how the book is going to end.
When I first started writing, I had no process, there was no organization, and I didn’t really care if I knew every fact that I needed to go in. The words flowed from my hand to the paper – or computer – without any planning at all. This is, of course, called being a pantser.
However, now that I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that putting effort into planning out your writing beforehand can be beneficial. A little footwork to help the process along makes the actual writing that much more enjoyable when you get around to it.
You know: the who, the why, the when, and the where. Details to flesh out that line of events floating aimlessly in your head.
One of the tools that I have learned to utilize has been a storyboard. Not the one with images like you see in the behind-the-scenes of movie extras, it’s more of sticky notes placed along a timeline that I can move around as I see fit.
My process always starts with a scene. I play it through my mind over and over again until I have exactly what I need. The characters that are present, and the initial background that will be used to create the world that these characters will live in.
Then, I’ll go through and begin to think of more events, more scenes like a movie, and write them down. Sometimes it’ll be a note in a notebook that I can transfer later. Other times it’ll be complete paragraphs that describe a character’s motivation or background.
I think it’s obvious, though, that at that point in time, I’m really just trying to get the main pieces together.
After all of this has been completed, I move onto piecing it all together. Because if you look at it, that’s all it really is. A giant puzzle with lots of little pieces that we writers need to fit together to make sense of everything.
In the end, it creates a wonderful tale for your reader or something to teach those in need of information.