Posted: September 5, 2011 in Writing

Okay, so I have taken some time to wind down from my first draft. Some of that time has been spent thinking about my next project. Based on how my last work progressed, which was fine, but not perfect, I have decided to adjust how I go about planning my novels.

Looking for inspiration I looked at some of my notes from some workshops I have taken at Writers and Books here in Rochester, NY. This lead me to a nice little packet on storyboarding. Much of the credit for what I am to say should go to Len Messineo, who lead the workshop.

The idea of storyboarding comes more from screenplay production and stage production, but it can be very useful for us other writers as well. The premise is that you put little snippets of scenes, including setting details, on 3 X 5 cards. The idea being that these little scene cards will force you to put enough detail in them so that you are showing what you want to happen. It will go a long way to that idea of “show, don’t tell” The 3 X 5 card idea is awesome, as you can also take the cards and rearrange the scenes to put them in a new order. It is a bit harder to do that with a static outline that we often use.

There are some software programs that can help you do this if you don’t want to do it with actual card. Mindola software makes one, I believe. I use yWriter from Spacejock Software for all my writing. The program is free, and it is rather robust. You can create chapters and scenes. You can view your work in different ways. It has word count trackers and goal trackers. It actually even lets you see your story in storyboard mode and you can mess around with it. The creator of the software is an author, and it is predominately done for his writing, but he shares it with us all, and for that I am glad.

So, my next story will incorporate more outlining, some storyboarding, and my favorite webbing to tie all the bits together. Hopefully the better prep work will equal a better story.

  1. Marcia says:

    Awesome, Jason! Sounds like a great plan that I’m going to try out as well. Good luck with the new story. As soon as the first one is edited, I hope to get a copy in my hands to read. 🙂

  2. jmcmurray says:

    You’re on the list. What I am having trouble finding is people to read through who don’t necessarily like me enough to worry about my feelings. I need to stop being so lovable.

  3. catwoods says:

    Best luck on the next rough draft. I love that stage.

    Also, my motto for beta readers is to find people who like you enough to read, but don’t love you enough to lie. I think this is an eternal obstacle for writers and I wish you luck in finding a great group of betas who give your manuscript the once-over it (they all) needs!


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