By Marcie Flinchum Atkins-
When you sit down to write, do you see words flowing out of your mind? Or do you it as series of pictures?
Either one is okay. However, sometimes when you are prewriting or brainstorming, if your mind sees pictures, it’s hard to brainstorm with words.
One way of brainstorming is to storyboard or make a story map. Most illustrators and some writers create storyboards when they are thinking through a story. For some great examples, take a look at these links:
Beth Krommes’ explains her Storyboard for her Caldecott winning THE HOUSE IN THE NIGHT here.
Middle grade writer, Jo Knowles, talks about how she uses storyboarding to write novels here.
Professional writers make storyboards. Even filmmakers rely on storyboards. This is a great way to see your story at a glance.
How to Make a Storyboard:
1. Get a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 inch copy paper. You can fold it into thirds, eighths, or even sixteenths.
2. Think about your story in sequence. Instead of worrying about the words, think about the images you see in your mind. If you’re not an artist, draw stick figures.
You can make a simple map of your story showing what will happen in the beginning, middle, and end, or you can get more complex.
In the beginning of the story, the writer usually introduces the reader to the character, the setting and the problem.
The middle is the meat of the story. This is where most of the action takes place and where the character tries to solve her problem. This is where the problem of the story is solved. Questions are answered for the reader.
If you create a map for yourself about what might happen in your story, then you are less likely to leave a story hanging in the middle. This doesn’t mean you won’t change your mind about a few of the details. Writers do that—often. But at least you are thinking about the structure of a story.
WRITING EXERCISE: Take your storyboard that you made and write the story in words, using your pictures as a map.
Marcie Flinchum Atkins writes in the wee hours of the morning (5:00 AM) and then goes off to school to teach fourth graders all day. Marcie writes picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, short stories, and poetry. Learn more about Marcie HERE and You can visit her YouTube channel and at www.marcieatkins.com.