There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Why This Pantser Loves Story Boarding May 18, 2014

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 12:20 am
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You’d think that, with all this talk of story bibles (or, as I like to call it, encyclobibliogrimoires) and such, that I would be more of a plotter than a pantser. But I’m really not. I try to plot, I really do. It just never works out for me. My characters start doing their own thing and I go with it, and my plans go out the window.

So how is it that I can love story boarding so much if I never go by my plans for my novels? Simple. I story board after I write. It’s a great way to keep up with a timeline and to mark important story points and world building areas. I tend to do this as I go in Scrivener, but having a physical story board really helps me creatively.

I’ve been reminded of why this is as I create a story board for my upcoming book Altar of Reality by Curiosity Quills Press. I just sent my first round edits back to my editor (yay!), finished pre-editor edits on Heirs of War, Crown of Flames, and am happily free to write. I’ve decided to write the sequel to Altar of Reality (tentatively the SHIFT series). But now that I’m free, the ideas just weren’t flowing. So what do I do?

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I go back to the drawing board. Literally. Nothing gets me more jazzed about my story than looking at it from a cat’s eye view. It’s way too easy to get bogged down in the details when you are editing. And sometimes rereading it can be even worse. By the time you are at the point to write a sequel, you’ve edited that first sucker into the ground. You’re tired of looking at it. But story boarding allows you to look at the individual parts and how they stack up as a whole. You’re reevaluating the characters and the journeys they go through, which can help you figure out where they are going next. And it can be just the kickstart you need to whoop your writers’ block and get your muses agreeing with you again.

What are your thoughts on story boarding? Are you one with the digital age and aids available like Scrivener, or do you prefer the old school method?

❤ Mara Valderran

 

Writerly Tools: Storyboard Edition January 17, 2013

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 2:43 am
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Annnnnddd we’re back with another special edition of Writerly Tools! On today’s agenda, we’ll be talking about how to organize all of those crazy thoughts and plots in your head.

Now, before you scoff and say “I’m a pantser! I write as it comes to me!”…well, for starters, don’t say that. And then take a step back and think about the complexities and intricacies of the story you are developing. For me, it is near impossible to keep it all straight in my head without some sort of reminder. I tend to pants it and then plot to make sure everything makes sense. Which is how these tools come in handy.

The first one I am going to talk about is one I, admittedly, know very little about as a non-Mac user. But I did see a friend use it and it looked awesome! I am referring to the Storyboard program for the Mac. I saw my friend use it as essentially a plot map with lines drawn to subplots and repercussions of scenes, etc. I was insanely jealous and for the first time in my life wanted to get a Mac just for the purpose of this program. So if you are a Mac user, I suggest checking it out.

If you are not a Mac user (or if you are since this program is now available for the Mac), I would suggest a program I do know a little something about called Scrivener. It is AMAZEBALLS. I have no real words as to why, so first I am going to show you as I gather my thoughts.

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That’s right folks. Your very own virtual corkboard. The best part? You can layer. These pins can be folders which contain scenes. For me, my folders are always chapters and then I have individual scenes within those chapters. You can keep notes on each item, which can say as little as “Chapter Three” to as much as describing your scene briefly. This is the perfect outlining tool AND it is pretty cheap too. Right now it is $40 (US) but if you win NaNoWriMo or CampNaNo, then you can get a discount. They offer a free 30 day trial where the days are not consecutive but instead are days of usage. So if you only use it twice a week, the free trial will last you 15 weeks. Awesomesauce, right?

It gets even better. You know those character journals and story bibles people are always talking about? Well, Scrivener essentially acts as one giant notebook for you. So there are areas for characters and research.

Of course, programs aren’t for everyone, which I completely understand. Why do I understand that?

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Because sometimes a good ole fashioned piece of posterboard and some sticky notes will do the trick.

Whatever your preference, I would definitely make organizing your plot elements a priority. This will help you avoid inconsistencies with characters and plot and also help you to really map your story to a timeline. What are you favorite plotting tools? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to check back next month for the Editing Edition of Writerly Tools!

-Mara Valderran