Tag Archives: Storyboarding

Why I need to see my characters before I write, part 2

So yesterday I showed you how my mind works. Get your own minds out of the gutter! I meant visually, that’s how!

I see things way before I ever type a single word of my manuscripts. My characters, my settings, the clothes people wear, the weather, everything, really, must be visual to me first.  I have stacks of current magazines in my office that I comb through frequently. Fashion mags, exercise, mags, home improvement ones, even travel issues. I’ll flip through the pages, see an interesting face, or place, or image, and rip it out, storing it in a big box on one of my library shelves.

I troll through Pinterest periodically as well, typing in search words for images I want, such as brown eyed and blonde hair women, or green eyed men.

When I see images that gel with what I’ve been seeing in my mind, I pin them to storyboards in my Pinterest site and sometimes even print them out for inclusion on my visualization board. You may think a great deal of this is redundant, but just having them loaded in a computer file isn’t enough for me. I need to actually see them every day while I’m writing my story.

As I’ve gotten older, I tend to forget little details that are important for my characters and stories. It’s not because I’ve got any kind of creeping dementia or cognitive memory loss. It’s more that there is so much going on in my life in one single day, that remembering what color eyes I gave my hero six weeks ago in chapter one, tends to be difficult if I don’t have the actual picture of the guy close by. A few months ago I was writing my soon-to-be-released 5th book in my Wild Rose Press series of the MacQuire Women, PASSION’S PALETTE,  and one of the characters had  chin length snow-blond hair initially, and the next time we meet her, it’s turned strawberry blonde and is down the middle of her back – three days later! I wasn’t paying attention to my vision board very well during those days, but luckily I caught a glimpse of it one day before submitting the story and fixed the mistake! So that’s all the proof I need to tell me making my vision boards is a worthwhile way to spend some of my creative time.

I’m just gonna throw this out there and say story boarding and plot visualization are as old as civilization. Didn’t primitive cave-people and early societies leave cave and cliff drawings, depicting their ways of life? Their history? Sounds to me an awful lot like storyboarding. Just saying….

So. Hope this helps you understand the way this writer’s brain and creative process works. I don’t think I’m alone in my storyboarding, either. I tend to think since the advent of Pinterest, more writers work this way, simply because it’s so easy to.

When I’m not storyboarding, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

The art of Storyboarding…

On Saturday, my New Hampshire chapter of RWA was given a treat: our chapter President, Christyne Butler, gave us a masterclass on storyboarding. What is storyboarding? I am so happy you asked.

Typically used in visual media, a storyboard is defined as such: a sequence of drawings, typically with some directions and dialogue, representing the shots planned for a movie or television production. This helps the film people plot the story, frame by frame, sequence by sequence.

But writers use storyboarding as well.

Most books are comprised of chapters, scenes within chapters, and actions within scenes. Instead of framing the novel action by scene by chapter, writers approach the storyboard a different way. Christyne showed us her way, which is how her characters are plotted out. She boards each individual character and things that might pertain to him/her when she starts to write. She has a complete visual reference for the entire book at her fingertips when she begins to write her story. She must be doing something right because she is a multi-published, very popular author!

Now, when I plot a new story it looks something like this:

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I write everything out longhand once I find pictures of my  characters. I fill entire composition books with pictures, descriptions, motivations, and backstory. It takes a while, but so far it has worked for me. With Christyne’s method – a more visual one – it seemed like it was worth a try, so I did it. Here’s where I’m at after 2 days: ( those are my feet in the bottom of the photo – damn crop app didn’t work!

dashboard3

This is a three book arc. My heroines are on the left side of the board, my heroes on the right. Just from viewing this I can see I know a whole bunch more about my girls than my boys!! SO right away, this has become a valuable tool for me. Since I am character driven, I have pictures of my peeps, their bedrooms ( I always want to imagine where they sleep!), things about their careers – quotes or pictures of occupations, and the colors on their individual blocks are foils for one another. For instance, the top is black and white because those two love interests perceive everything emotionally in shades of black and white – no gray. My goal is to get them to the gray! I love assigning colors to characters because I think of them in shades of colors. It’s hard sometimes to explain how my brain works, but the black and white instance is the easiest way for me to get you to understand how I envision people/characters.

This is all after 2 days. I’m hoping ( wishing?praying?) to have it done this weekend. I’ve already written two chapters, but I feel as if now I’ll know my characters much better when I write the rest.

So, if you’re a writer, do you storyboard? Write out everything in longhand? Fly by the seat of your pants? What? let’s discuss……

New release 3 WISHES (A Candy Hearts Romance)perf5.000x8.000.indd

Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her 30th birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Get it here: Amazon //  The Wild Rose Press // Nook//  Kobo //

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, New Hampshire, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, WIld Rose Press AUthor