Storyboarding Not Just for Movies

Sheenah Archive, Writing Advice 4 Comments

I thought it was about time to sit down and write a post about writing considering I write. A lot of writers who are just starting out tend to think that there is a right way to write. I’ve read plenty of books and articles that always say that you should start with a plan: write a detailed outline about what you want or write a messy first draft. And I’m going to tell you that I’ve tried plenty of these advices to see if any of those were the right fit for me. And I found out that the right fit for me wasn’t any of these tried and true methods that most writers praise and rant about. What fits for me is a very simple outline of what I’d like to see and something that’s uncommon in the writing world: storyboarding.

Just because you don’t have any art skills doesn’t mean that you should just throw the idea away. When you think of it: a book is just like a movie. Movies need storylines and your book is just that: a storyline; a script just waiting to be unfolded on the big screen! It helps if you already think in the mindset of a movie (like everything plays out in your head and you write everything down that happens).

Some people use the storyboarding method without any art. They write down a particular scene on some index cards and move them around accordingly on a large corkboard or whatever designated area they have. I, on the other hand, am more of a visual person so sketching down scenes, characters, maps, and city layouts are all beneficial to me. I dug up some pictures (none of which are great artistically) from my file of sketches from my novel, The Chosen, that I had saved. You can see a sketch of a scene that was never used in the book, but immensely helped set the tone of the relationship between Derek and Catrina. Not to mention there’s some early sketches of how I wanted Recla and Derek to appear at first (surprising how un-Disney like they turned out from the start). And a very crude map of the world which I might upload later on its own page.

Storyboarding 1

Sketch of a scene and early ballgown

Storyboarding 2

Early merfolk and sketch of the opening scene

Storyboarding 3

A poorly made map but it works

As you can see from above I don’t really have a set routine for storyboarding. And even if your art is bad, it can still work as long as you understand what’s going on. I usually link individual pictures with a scene or mark it down for what chapter I want to help set the overall tone or to help me manage to keep my characters in check. As far as sketches of the scenes go, I tend to keep them with me when I know that particular scene is coming up. Because the sketches are usually done in first person POV, it helps me get into the mindset of the characters and helps me effectively write in third person POV.

Remember: this is how I write. It may not work for you and yet, it might. You never know what’s the right fit for you until you try!

Comments 4

  1. OMG this is awesome! I never thought of using storyboards to write, I always thought of film!

    I agree though, everyone uses different methods. I don’t really believe in the outline to write thing. Even for an essay I never write outlines, unless they’re required. Bleh.

    1. Post
      Author

      I thought that too until I watched a behind the scenes thing on Beauty and the Beast. The screenwriter wasn’t used to writing for animation so she wasn’t comfortable with the storyboarding idea; then I thought why not try it for writing?

  2. You’re so much more precise than me. XD But I think it’s BECAUSE I do nothing like this that I have trouble when I go to actually write, because I don’t know where I’m going with it. That’s where it helps to have someone to write with, I think, because then you get plotting sessions to direct the story.

    1. Post
      Author

      I’m not really. Both of my desks are a jumble of papers. It’s fun to bounce ideas off of people though. And I will totally read your RP — I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  3. Great post! I agree that everyone has a different method of doing things and what works for one person might not work for another. Glad to hear that you found what works for you!

  4. now I see this!! I did not tried storyboarding before though when I was in high school I used to draw maps and then character designs. But now that I’m in college, I am more focused into character designs (though all of them has their own story). Maybe I should try this though I know there is a method that best fits me. =)

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