Index Card Storyboard

How Do You Build Your Story?


Are you a plotter or panster? I have always been a panster and I find myself becoming a plotter-and loving it.


You already know how much I admire and love the plot whisperer, Martha Alderson. I have consulted with her a few times and I learned more in a few hours than in years of reading technique and craft books & taking on-line seminars and workshops. That is why one of the grand prizes in my blogfest is a two hour consult with her. I will return to our consulting at the end of the month when I finish other work projects.


I have also been reading another amazing book, Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks. Brooks host an incredibly helpful website/blog, storyfix.  He teaches the six core competencies of successful storytelling.
1. Concept
2. Character
3. Theme
4. Structure
5. Scene execution
6. Writing voice

And how we need a  complete understanding of how the four parts of story structure work together to create a well written book. " No single box contains the whole story. Each box is a subset, a part of the whole story. Only all four, viewed sequentially, do the storytelling job."

Part One:     The Set Up
Part Two:     The Response
Part Three:   The Attack
Part Four:     The Resolution
Of course it is much more complicated than I just touched on, but if you are looking for a way to understand story planning and how to make it all come together,  this is a great book.

If you are asking yourself, "What do I write next?" or " What is the best order for my scenes?"
This book is for you.    

Based on what I have learned so far with my plot consultations with Martha Alderson,  I am restructuring the  sequence of many scenes in my legal thriller that I thought was complete. The changes I have made have already improved my book.  Alderson uses a plot line with three parts that is similar to Brooks's four part story model.

So,  do any of you use storyboards,  plot-lines or plot diagrams to organize the sequence and structure of your novel?  If so,  what do you use?  Post it notes?  A computer program?  I'd love to know.  I really like how this has shaped up my WIP.

I found a few ideas on the Internet.
     Some photos and ideas taken from Diane Chamberlain's blog.  Diane got her inspiration from Alexandria Sokoloff.  Take a look at her blog, The Dark Saloon. Alexandria is an award winning author of several thrillers and she teaches scriptwriting courses.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?  Maybe a combo of both?  Have you always structured your stories the same way or have changed from plotter to panster or vice/verse?  Do you use any visual aids to help you write your story?

Don't forget to sign up for either my blogfest or random drawing for amazing prizesHere.
                                               

11 comments:

  1. This is really inspiring me to plot. I am a pantser, but I know my two "completed" novels need a serious overhaul. Perhaps the card method would help. I seem to get sucked into the allure of a fresh story and have not done the editing I really need to do.

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  2. I am totally a pantser. I'm hoping to grow into a plotter, but for now, I am a pantser. I love the index card storyboard idea. That is awesome! I never thought of googling this, but I love what you've found, and the book sounds good too!

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  3. I've started using Scrivener writing software which has index cards. I find index cards on the computer a lot less fussy (and messy).

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  4. Hello Melissa. This is an awesome post. Such good suggestions and links. I'll be back to learn more. I'm a pantser, but I try to be a plotter but it just doesn't seem to work for me. Maybe if I  look into some of these pointers I may save myself some work and dead ends!

    Thank you

    Denise

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  5. A piece of paper with rough chapter outlines is pretty much it for me. I'm thinking I should look into this plotting a bit more deeply!

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  6. I have to outline or my story will wind up in Tibet! Never used a storyboard though. The fifteen elements from "Save the Cat!" really helps me with my outline.

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  7. I'm mostly a pantser but trying to encompass plotting to keep me on track.

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  8. As a true punster who has always rebelled against plotting, I can tell you that this method really allows you to see the big picture. It has never been so easy to know what order to place my scenes.

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  9. From a hard-headed punster I can tell you that seeing the index cards on a board in front of me has quickly helped me see where I have misplaced scenes and why.

    Amazing what you can find by googling it, isn't it?

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  10. I love Scrivner. I am using it to write my WIP. I am new to it, I bought it during the NaNO discount. I love the index cards as del. I still haven't learned everything about Scrivner, but so far it is the best software I have tried or purchased. I still like being able to actually spread all of the scene cards out in a life sized manner.

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  11. I'm a plotter, but I mostly only use typed-in notes, although I do have a list of all my characters and their details on a huge wall in my office. Dang! I need some more colorful ways like the ones in your pictures!

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