Articles / On Writing

Divas on Writing: Storyboarding

For the last couple of weeks, I have written about character, setting, and plot sheets. Today’s article isn’t so much a sheet but a close relative to it: a storyboard. Storyboarding your story can be done in a couple of different ways; it really depends on what you like. Storyboarding can help a writer who needs to better visualize the structure of their story from beginning to end. The majority of the storyboards I have seen look something like the picture below.

The purpose of the board is another way to outline your story using a simple layout that can easily be changed to suit your edits. You can clearly see the elements of your story and what direction your story will take while you write it. The use of storyboards has been generally associated with screenplays or film production. I took a storyboarding for film class in college years ago. We drew out every scene and shot of the student films we were making. It was a great tool to keep us on target and to have that much-needed visual. Storyboarding for your written fiction acts very much the same way.

Scrivener and Storybox are programs with the storyboard feature.

For the more technically minded, this tool is a better option than a poster board and Post-Its. You can have your whole outline on the program’s storyboards and switch back and forth while you write on one screen. Plus you don’t have the clunky poster board hanging out in your office. I have tried Scrivener and found that the PC version is very lacking compared to what I’ve heard of the Mac version, so my experience with the computer programs isn’t as favorable as I’ve found the old-fashioned way of poster board and sticky notes.

The layouts can vary. Like the picture above, you can list out chapter by chapter on your poster board. Or you can just create an outline with key topics you want to include in your novel without having a rundown of each chapter. Instead of sheets, you can also you storyboards for your characters, setting, and plot. Try it out and see where it takes you.

Do you use storyboarding as a way of outlining your novels? What method do you prefer? Tell us what you like the best about storyboarding.


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