Creating a storyboard can help you visualise your characters and locations in your stories. Storyboards can help you sequence your story in a way that shows what’s working and what’s not. They can help with consistency and can also help you visually organise scenes Having a storyboard in front of you as you write, grounds you in your story. I have put together some useful links to articles and YouTube videos on the different ways to storyboard.
NY Book Editors tells us that creating a graphic sequence of events for your novel can appeal to the visual thinkers among us. As a creative writer, you’re more likely to be a visual thinker as well. A storyboard gives the writer powerful visual cues to use to stay on track with their storytelling. NY Book Editors describes a storyboard as cohesive sketched scenes along with a brief description of what’s happening in the scene. The benefit of storyboarding is that it allows you to organise your story, speed up your writing time, identify roadblocks, check the pacing in your novel, and rearrange scenes. Storyboarding can add another layer to your plotting process. The article goes on to discuss how to make your story board, by introducing the 3×3 method. This is where you take the 3 acts and break down each act into three images. It discusses each in turn.
This article from Self-Publishing School explains that storyboarding involves visually organising a story’s sequence of events, character development, settings, and key plot points. This technique offers an overview of the entire novel, making it easier for writers to spot connections, gaps, and pacing issues. The storyboarding discussed here uses index cards to lay out your scenes. Self-Publishing School explains the basics of storyboarding and explains how it can play a different role in various genres of novels, including mystery/thriller, romance, fantasy/science fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, and young adult. This article also helpfully provides a case study of how to storyboard a novel for a hypothetical novel.
The term storyboarding comes from Hollywood. They are sketches that allow directors to see the scene and to communicate what they want to the cinematographer. A simplified version of this can be useful for writers. You can use free drawing apps or use photos either that you can take or that you can google. Closely linked to storyboarding is drawing a building plan or map of the area where your story is set.
A storyboard is a visual outline for a narrative story told in a linear manner. This is a link to creative storyboarding with Canva. It is free and easy to use and customise. It is explained simply with a video to watch too.
This link is slightly different in that it is about making a mood board or inspiration board. It is the perfect way to save inspiration and generate new ideas for your story. Mood boards have come a long way since the days of attaching printouts to a noticeboard. Mood boards can include videos, images, links, and colour. This guide explains how to create a mood board for a novel using Milanote. There are no strict rules with mood boards, and you might want to focus on figuring out what a character or location looks like, or they could be centered around an era or the emotion you want to capture. It provides a step-by-step guide to creating a mood board.
In this video, you are taught how to storyboard your novel in Scrivener. By storyboarding your novel, you will be able to plan and organise your plot more effectively, and you’ll be able to see it in a more linear fashion.
Here is a great method for storyboarding with lots of tips.
Storyboarding is a wonderful organising technique that is highly underrated when it comes to fiction writing. It is a great tool to plot your novels and to put it all together in a coherent plotline.
Storyboarding can be what you want it to be. You can take different bits from these articles and make the type of storyboard that will work for you. Whether it is with sketches, scene/chapter cards, photos of characters and locations, or colours and emotions. Print them out and stick on a notice board in front of you while you write or create one online and use it as a screen saver on your laptop. I hope this week’s column has been useful for you. As always, please get in touch if there are any topics you would like me to cover.
(c) Lucy O’Callaghan