Earlier in my writing journey, I shunned the use of the story board.  I felt it was too time consuming, especially when I figured in the time spent gathering all the materials and then the actual time it took to prepare the board. A decade later, I returned to this tool, but this time, I was  ready to learn.

The story board is an interesting tool for a writer. Basically, it’s a visual support of what is going on inside the writer’s head.  The idea is to breakdown the main plot  & subplots into well-defined segments to reveal the weaknesses and strengths of these elements. Along the way, it also serves to remind the writer about devices to be used, like dialogue or action, while conveying information to the reader.

I spotted the weakness of one of my subplots which was nearly invisible at the front of the novel and then dropped like a Looney Tune boulder on the reader in the last few chapters.

Yuck. That’s a no-no.

I also spotted where I failed to take advantage of an opportunity to interweave  one of my  subplots into a scene. The old “every choice is made for a reason” took on new meaning as I realized I could slip a few details into a scene which would keep two of my subplots present without distracting from the scene purpose.

That was an Eureka moment.

The story board design depends on each writer. I’ve seen so many variations my eyeballs spin just thinking of them.  I chose my design which continues to evolve as I work.  Do all the  cute little post-its work?

For me, yes.  I can see at a glance that I need to shift a scene’s emphasis to action or to revelation through dialogue.  I can also see which characters might be popping up a little too often or too seldom.  Best of all, I can see nine chapters clearly delineated in terms of character appearance, scene purpose, devices used and setting location.

I’m enjoying the control.  I also enjoying the freedom from trying to use countless folders to keep track of the various elements at work in the novel.   It’s rather exciting to see the novel as a visual art piece, rather than text on white. Whether or not this will turn out to be my method remains to be seen.

All I know is that I’m ready to be rescued from the chaos of handling so many story elements over a 90,000 word distance.


4 Responses to “THE STORY BOARD”
  1. Raven, Thanks for this post. I’m having a very hard time working out some points in my novel, and I have been thinking about trying a storyboard. Your post and pictures are not only helpful, but they’re pretty to look at!

    • ravenlaw says:

      Thanks Olivia,

      I think if you’re going to try this tool, it’s important to do in in a way that enhances your vision of your novel. I like the color code. It’s got what I call an “immediate recognition” factor. I also like that I can set the board nearby as I work and reference it without shuffling through papers. Large squares give me the room to add on additional notes.

      If you decide to try it, I’d love to see what you come up with.

      Thank you for stopping by,


  2. joni says:

    What a colorful idea! I like this because sometimes we get so lost in our plot, we forget things along the way and the Story Board can keep the time line and all the facts very organized. Great post Raven!

    • ravenlaw says:

      Thanks Joni!

      I think that I might consider creating a different design for the subplot board. I’m getting the hang of this and I can already feel how much responsibility has shifted off me and onto the board. I don’t have to try to remember so much. I definitely have more brain power to devote to the writing process.

      It’s good to hear from you.


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