Sunday, September 5, 2010

Storyboarding for the Road

Coming up the idea for a new work is pretty straightforward. You can even come up with a title (I usually like to have one before I start writing. For some reason, the right title is like having the right set of keys to your car, you can use the spare set -- but you just feel better when you have your own).  The two novellas that I have "in progress" are very different.

The contemporary is one that I actually began plotting (in my head) last March when my daughter and I road-tripped to Washington D.C.  I could just see the scenes playing out on the drive. So I took notes on and off.  The bottom half of the storyboard above (The Blue/Pink rows with the one sheet of yellow) are that contemporary.  The pink is for the heroine and the blue for her hero.  It's about 10 chapters.  That may change, but each of those sticky notes represents a major event, emotion or action that occurs in the tale.  I consider this my road map.  It's how I keep myself on track while fast drafting.

Does this mean I will stick to it 100%? Nope. But it does mean that if I do sidetrack or get stuck, I have a point of reference for where to look to fix it, change it or get rid of it.

The paranormal novella is the first two rows -- I used a lot of yellow, green, orange and a little bit of blue.  The yellow is for my heroine here  while the green is for the hero.  The orange represents information from other sources or points of view that I'll need to introduce.  The dark blue in the second line is a third perspective that is present in other chapters, but really comes in here -- and hopefully it will work as intended.

By the way, I owe a HUGE round of thanks to Shayla Black and Nikki Duncan. I wouldn't storyboard like this if not for them. And the last two novels I storyboarded were a LOT easier for me to write (even when I deviated from the plot and writing flying by the seat of the pants.

So what did this exercise net me today? It helped me clear the cobwebs on the story, it helped me clean up the ideas a little and to shine the light on plot holes (and yes, did I have some).  The board is thin in places -- you see where there's only one or two sticky notes -- I will bet money I may run into trouble there. But that's okay, because every story evolves for me. It begins at point A, travels through subsequent points and arrives at the destination.

I know where these tales are going -- I just need to take the journey to get there. If that means a few detours now and then -- well, that's okay -- this storyboard is my navi-bitch -- she'll keep me on track mostly.

I'll keep you up to date.  Fast Drafting on the paranormal begins today. I flipped a coin, by the way and the paranormal won.   FastDrafting refers to Candace Havens method of writing -- 20 pages a day, just get the story on the paper.

Stay tuned for more details!


  1. This is very similar to the Writer's Blocks tool that I use. It works the same way but it all happens on the computer screen instead of the storyboard. (I can even color my squares)

    Now if I could just find somebody to transcribe all these handwritten notes...

  2. LOL - I keep saying I want a secretary. Someone who could organize my mad-cap ramblings -- but that ends up being me most of the time.