It’s not unusual for new writers to start writing a book at the beginning and continue to work from A to B until the end. Or at least that’s the plan. While it may work for an eccentric few, most people will soon hit a snag – how to keep going – and this can often result in a complete stalemate which has the potential to derail the project completely. But if this is your problem, take heart, there are a number of ways to overcome this self-induced writer’s block. There are many writing strategies that will trigger the story process and help to keep the book on track. Here we discuss how to construct a storyboard and plan a novel from start to finish.
Writing Strategies – Constructing a Storyboard
In this video author and teacher Mary Carroll Moore explains how storyboarding can work for writers. It’s a simple concept but it can have a profound effect on the writing processs. The storyboarding technique confines the often hazy process of idea development to a formal structure, providing a visual diagram of the direction the story can take.
Points to Take Away from Storyboard Writing Strategies
Stoyboarding shows how random ‘islands’ of the story can be flowed into a series of events that will satisfy the reader. This technique will work just as well for fiction and non-fiction.
- First, brainstorm a list of about 20 topics. The list becomes a list of islands.
- Use the three act structure – beginning, middle and end.
- Find five points in the book that are the most important and represent the high and low points in the ‘W’ stucture.
- #1 is the Triggering event that starts the action.
- #2 is the first turning point. The triggering event has descended to the first low point of the book. The story moves up again as a result of new events or incidents.
- #3 is the next crisis moment. Events occur that triggers another slide towards a worsening of the essential problem.
- #4 is the lowest point in the book. From here the final resolution has to begin to emerge. Here we get a sense of completion or a sense of change starting to occur.
- #5 is the final stage of the book. Somewhere on the journey from #4 an epiphany moment takes place that leads to a resolution.
Brainstorm your ideas to generate islands of the story and then go to the story tool. If you find the storyboard too structured, go back to the brainstorming process and generate more islands. When the blocks have been overcome return to the storyboarding tool. Add new ideas to the storyboard as they come to you. You then have a visual map for your writing journey.
This is just one of many simple writing strategies that can work to organise information. I had no understanding of this process when I wrote my first novel, but examining the finished product against the storyboard structure shows a natural flow between problem and resolution similar to that outlined here. I’ll certainly be using this technique in future.