Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Story Board

Today's blog is about a topic that has been very helpful to me in plotting. The story board. Some writers fly by the seat of their pants. I can't. I'm a plotter. And just how do I keep all those scenes straight...certainly not in my head. I use a story board.

My story board is a large cork board. It contains several items, including photographs of each of my main characters. I scour magazines until I find the perfect photos that depict what my characters look like in my mind. I then cut them out and pin them to the story board. This helps me envision the characters and get to know them on a more intimate level. Also, I fill out a character biography in order to get to know each main character better. You can find many examples of these on the web. Pick one that works best for you.

My story board also has chapter headings pinned to it: chapter 1, chapter 2, etc. Under these headings, I place a small post-it note of each scene in each particular chapter. For example, first date, first kiss, and since I write suspense, first victim. On one side of the board, I pin post-it notes of every scene in my novel. I move them over under the appropriate chapter heading once they've been included in the novel.

Many times, I'll decide that I want to make changes to a certain scene I've already written or I may decide that I want to move that particular scene to another chapter. But, what chapter is that scene located in? A quick look at the story board gives me a guide on where to find that scene.

I hope you found this blog helpful. This is how I plot.


  1. That is a great idea! I am not a detailed plotter. I had a basic storyline and flesh it out as I write. Not much to it. But I have found I run into problems...need a better plan, I think. :)

  2. I've always wanted to use a storyboard to plot!

  3. This is cool!!! I may have to try this. I'm not a plotter more seat of the pants, but I'm not sure seat of the pants is always good :) LOL

  4. I use pictures of the main characters as well! JC Penny catalogues are great because they use the same models in several poses and settings. Behind the pictures, I insert the character sketches, as I keep them in plastic sleeves. Also, instead of chapter headings, I have a separate index card for each scene, plus a running timeline.

    It takes three corkboards to hold it all! :-)

  5. Sounds like a great system. May have to give it a whirl.