Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Writers The Other Use for the Storyboard

Last week we talked a bit about using a storyboard to help you plot out your story.

This week, we're going to talk about the "other" use: Using a storyboard to revise a story.

When you're finished drafting your book, or when you've received a request for revision from your editor, it's always wise to read the thing the whole way through, making notes on the changes you see need to be made.

Lots of times those changes are things like: Beef up this conversation or deepen the emotion of this scene. I like to call those "isolated" changes because they involve just one part of your book, and if you do them correctly they don't impact anything else.


When you have a change like: Make this guy more of an alpah male or in the middle of the book have the heroine realize she still loves the hero -- these changes impact everything that comes after them.

Now, you could go through your draft, penciling in changes as you go to input into your computer draft later. That works. Because if you use a pencil nothing is set in stone. But you also have to flip back and forth checking what you have against what you've added. It can be clumsy and cumbersome.

An easier way is to do a storyboard of your project as it exists, using post-its. This way, as you're penciling in your revisions, you can see what's "up ahead" in the book so that you don't step on any of your existing scenes when you change something.

Plus, you can see your entire book at a glance which helps with pacing and intensity. Because post-its are moveable, you can experiment with your changes on the board before you make them in your manuscript. You can add scenes or take them off. You can even change existing scenes by adding or subtracting things from your post-its. You can totally recreate your book on "the board" and then implement those changes in your book.

It also helps to do a storyboard of the book you've been asked to revise, then walk away...letting all those revisions you need to make sort of roll around in your head for 24 hours... with your existing storyboard in mind. You'll come back the next day with all kinds of wonderful possibilities jumping around in your head!

There's nothing more horrifying than making a book WORSE when you revise. Or making it a total mess because you forgot where you were, what came before, what comes after.

The story board is an amazing tool for keeping everything on track.

Happy Monday!