Some writers prefer to approach their book with a free-wheeling approach. They just sit down and write, which creates literary magic. Others prefer to work from an outline approach. If you prefer a visual approach to your book, then a storyboard could be the right way to begin your next creative effort.
What is a storyboard? It is a series of sketches about your key action scenes that includes a description in each panel of what is going on at that moment. It’s like an outline, but with visual prompts to help you find the right words to say.
If this is a process which interests you, then here’s how to make a storyboard for a book.
#1. Create a series of descriptions for the key moments of your book.
Break your book down into the various chapters or scenes that it will contain. Then create a one-sentence description of what needs to happen in that key moment. This is what will drive the reader to stay hooked on the story from start to finish. The minimum number of scenes you should outline here is 8, but if you have more, then do more.
#2. Sketch out the key scenes.
Now take each one of those 8+ one-sentence descriptions and create a “mini-comic” of what you expect to happen. You don’t have to be a great artist to take advantage of what the storyboard is able to do. Stick-figure drawings work just as well as realistic artwork. The image you create must be a representation of the description.
#3. Start filling in the rest of the blanks.
For a book that’s about 80,000 words in length, there will be about 65 scenes that will play out in the narrative. You’ll need to fill-in the blanks between your key scenes the same way you created each initial scene. Come up with a one-sentence description for each moment. Place it in a position on your storyboard where the scene is able to drive the narrative forward. Then draw a simple sketch to reflect what you see happening in that scene. Repeat until you’ve completed every scene that is in your book.
#4. Review the plotting of each scene.
Once you’ve completed your storyboard, make sure you come back to review it so that every element works. You may need to change the placement of certain scenes so that the story flows properly. You might even decide to remove some scenes. Don’t try to make your storyboard and then edit it on the same day. Come back after a couple of days for the editing process so that you see your creativity through fresh eyes.
#5. Include any plot points, hints, or discoveries the reader will need to make.
Once you’ve created the scenes of your book and you’ve got everything properly placed, you’re ready to add some of the finer details of your narrative. Every book has certain hints that lead a reader to understand what the anticipated outcome of the narrative will be. You don’t want to give too much away, but you also don’t want the reader to be kept in the dark. Adding in these elements within the storyboard process will help you keep your narrative flowing without interruption.
#6. Consider creating a separate character storyboard.
Once of the biggest issues which authors face when writing a longer book is character consistency. Blonde hair turns black. Freckles come and go. A character might have been born in Los Angeles, but then in dialogue talk about how they were born in NYC. By creating a separate character storyboard which includes the specific details of the character, along with how you want that character to grow in the narrative, you’ll be able to add consistency to your story.
#7. Turn your storyboard into a complete outline [optional].
Once you’ve finished your storyboards, you’re ready to create a complete outline of your book. You can also use your storyboard to create a writing schedule for yourself. This way you can make sure that you are writing a specific amount of content every day.
#8. Start writing.
Once all of the previous steps have been completed, you’re ready to begin the writing process. Keep referring to your storyboard to make sure every element you’ve thought about will be included in your final narrative.
Knowing how to make a storyboard for a book can help you keep a consistent writing approach, especially if you process information visually. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to wisely invest your time into your next book.