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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.


Melissa Sugar said...

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.

Melissa Sugar said...

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!

Melissa Sugar said...

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

Melissa Sugar said...

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


Melissa Sugar said...

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!

Melissa Sugar said...

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.

Melissa Sugar said...

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

Melissa Sugar said...

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.

Melissa Sugar said...

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?

Melissa Sugar said...

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.

Melissa Sugar said...

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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