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Write On, Wednesday: The Story Board/Collage

By Leslie Lindsay


I am in the beginning stages of a new novel.  Two years ago, when the new novel popped into my head, I was energized and eager to start tapping the keys. 

Yet, I has this other manuscript I just had to finish first.  Not that it was all that compelling (there were times I wanted to haul it out the window), but I knew if I started the other one, the current manuscript never would have gotten finished. 

Now, I sit at the computer and think, “Hummm….now what?”  I need my original muses to make an appearance.  Helllooo….where are you?!  And so I pulled out the ol’ storyboard.  You’ve heard of these in terms of cartoons, sit-coms, even children’s books, and movies. 

Literary types can do them, too.  This is the first time I’ve attempted a storyboard for one of my projects. In the past, I’d snip articles, photos, book passages I liked and slip them into a protective plastic sheet within the confines of a three-ring binder.

I still do that.

This time, though I’ve extended the activity to include words, images, maps, sayings, etc. to get me into the story.  The plan is to have the board propped up in my office so that I can refer to it as I tap the thing out. 

Here’s what I’ve learned: my protagonist is kind of dowdy. Her hubby– a hottie.  A lot of colors from the green and gray palette popped up as I organized photos and clippings. If an image stood out in some way (in a catalog, magazine, newspaper), and I didn’t quite know what to do with it (at first), I ripped it out anyway.  Something–or someone–(those muses?) is calling me to it. 

 I now know this:

  • The theme of the book will be loosely based on grief, miscarriage, adoption, and support.
  • We’re working with three distinct periods in history–1893, 1984, and the present day.
  • Much of the story is based on urban legend.
  • I’ll be honoring–and bringing history to life through my present-day characters.
  • My protagonist likes horror movies.  How random is that?! I can’t stand them.

The board is nearly filled…but I am leaving room for additional things I come across as I work, because there are bound to be some surprises. 

This may be as close to plotting as this pantser gets!

Write on, Wednesday! Thursday.

For more information on this strategy, see:

[above image from this source.  Unfortuantely, this goofy WordPress template isn’t allowing me to upload my own images.  Argh!]

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