Let’s welcome back LA Bourgeois as she shares with us “Storyboard Your Tale.” Enjoy!
Have you ever been caught in a whirlwind of words?
Have your ideas and options for a story circled and distracted you into a disoriented heap, huddled on the floor to escape the battering winds?
Were there days when all the outlines and maps and sticky notes in the world wouldn’t clarify the path?
Guess what? That’s completely normal.
Sometimes, as the James Bond punster in me likes to say, the words are not enough.
So what can you do when this confusion sets in?
I like to draw a storyboard.
A storyboard is a series of pictures on a single page, kind of like what you would see in a comic book.
Film directors use them to show the progression of shots in a scene.
Storyboards assist these artists in clarifying their vision and communicating it to producers, partners, crew, and actors.
Drawing a storyboard pulls you out of that whirlwind by changing your point of view.
Sketching pictures of the main points in your story propels you to engage your imagination in a different way, and thinking in those different ways often leads to revelations.
Just like movie directors, these pictures illustrate key points in your story and assist you in organizing your thoughts and words.
Multiple paths and destinations may be explored as you etch these small images. And think of the word count you’re building up!
After all, each picture’s supposed to be worth at least 1000 words….
How to Draw a Storyboard
On a sheet of paper, delineate six to eight boxes as frames.
Inside those boxes, sketch images depicting the most important moments in your story or scene.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a fine artist.
The quality of your artwork isn’t what matters here.
All that matters is that the boxes portray the main points in a way that you can understand them.
Make as many of these storyboards as you need to play with your story, taking each option to its logical conclusion.
What About A Storyboard Example?
Let’s say that you’ve been playing with a scene in your latest thriller. You know how you want the scene to start and end but you don’t know what comes in between.
Begin by drawing the first and final images. Use the frames in-between to depict what happens in one of your many options.
Then, repeat the process with each option you’ve considered. Once they are all complete, lay them out to see all the differing visions at once.
Or perhaps your romance novel isn’t coming together as you’d like. Fill in each box with an image showing what happens at each major plot point.
Are you writing an epic sci-fi adventure that spans multiple volumes? Complete a storyboard for your overarching mythos as well as the plot for each book.
Once you have this series of images, you could even cut them out and rearrange them at will, mixing and matching to pull together your vision!
Make Your Own Story Discovery
Viewing these scenes and points in your story with your eyes changes the way you perceive your work.
The transformation can bring clarity and assist you in the decisions that need to be made for your writing to move forward.
Once you’re done, these highlights will keep you focused.
Then, like an old-fashioned animator, you can use your words to connect each highlighted moment to the next, constructing your story with surety.
This technique can be used for every part of your plotting from the smallest scene to the overarching path of a full series.
As with all creativity exercises, this might not work for you. And that’s okay.
If it doesn’t work for you, just find a technique that does. However, I encourage you to go ahead and give it a try!
You never know until you do the experiment.
Get out your colored pencils, crayons, and markers, and have fun storyboarding your story!
***This work is informed by my study of Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching Tools and techniques.
ABOUT THE BOOK REVIEWER
LA (as in tra-la-la) Bourgeois supports writers, makers, and other creatives in growing their creative businesses and breaking away from their day jobs.
As a creativity & business coach, she believes that exploring your creativity invites joy into your life, embracing your creativity infuses your life with joy, and manifesting your creativity gives you a joyous purpose. Writing and knitting are her non-negotiable mediums, and she can usually be found with a pen or knitting needles in her hands.
Find her free guide, Tricking Yourself into a Creative Habit online at labourgeois.biz and start writing those words today. She can’t wait to read them!
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