Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Storyboarding with Vanessa Kelly

Summer has started and the kids are out of school. I thought I would share Vanessa Kelly’s Storyboarding technique with all of you. Just a little something to help get your motor running if summer time has you distracted from your writing.

Vanessa Kelly on Storyboarding…

Before I begin plotting, I usually spend several weeks doing research for the book and brainstorming with my critique partner. When the story ideas start to come together in my head, I then start on my plot board. It's divided into two rows horizontally across the middle. Then I break it down into scene or chapters. It can be either one - just something that is a finite scene or piece of action in the book. For each scene I have four stickies, which I layer one on top of the other, moving scenes horizontally across the board. For each scene I have:
1. a yellow sticky, which states where the scene is located and what the main action of the scene is.
2. a pink sticky, which sets out in one or two sentences the heroine's goal for the scene, or her emotional arc or issue for that scene.
3. a blue sticky, with the hero's goal for the scene, or his emotional arc or issue.
4. a purple sticky, which is my goal for the scene, i.e. First Meet, First Sex Scene, Turning Point, Advance Sub-plot, etc... Obviously, if the heroine or hero isn't in the scene, I don't include that sticky.

I try not to over think it, pushing myself to work quickly so I can get some kind of flow. And I don't stress. The beauty of working with stickies is that you can rewrite or change them, even shuffle them, any time. I'm always rewriting stickies as I go along, getting different ideas or refining the characters' goals. And by forcing myself to reduce things to one or two sentences, I can really home in on goals and motivations. It's a great brainstorming exercise, and can be a lot of fun if you just let it rip.

It only takes me a day or so to do it. It's a focused brainstorming exercise more than anything else, and your plot will change - often quite a bit - once you start writing. But it's a good safety net, and I can also write a synopsis based on the plot board before I even start the book.

Here is a picture to give you a visual.

This was very exciting for me to see. Hope it helps all of you as well. Thank you for stopping in.