Understanding the Purpose of a Storyboard

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with your bazillion amazing story ideas? Well, it’s time to unpack the power tool that’ll take your story planning to the next level – the Storyboard!

What Is a Storyboard?

Understanding the Purpose of a Storyboard

It’s simpler than it sounds. It’s a sequence of illustrations or images displayed in the order of your narrative’s progression. Think of it as a comic strip version of your novel or a visual Pinterest board that has fallen head over heels in love with your plot.

Why Use a Storyboard: The Advantages

Much like a triple espresso, storyboarding gives clarity and flow to your ideas. It’s a great way to visually track your plot, examine the structure of your story, and ensure that the narrative tension is as tight as a rubber band. Storyboarding can help you spot those pesky plot holes before they become narrative sinkholes!

Storyboarding: Not Just for Filmmakers

Contrary to popular belief, storyboarding isn’t reserved for the Spielbergs and Scorseses of the world. Novelists, playwrights and even poets can reap the benefits of this technique. Remember, a storyboard is another form of outlining using visuals instead of bullet points. And we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Using a Storyboard to Organize Ideas

Storyboards let you paint the big picture of your plot (literally) and help you see how your story’s elements—character arcs, themes, conflicts—intertwined like vines. You can lay out your scenes, trace the development of your characters, and color-code different narrative threads to create a masterpiece of planning.

I love OneNote for storyboarding. It’s free to use and works like a digital version of a tabbed binder. I can throw all my ideas into it, and create sections for chapters, tabs for scenes and subtabs for specific details.

But some authors use Post-its and a blank wall to work through the storyboarding process. This is easy and great for super visual people.

Pitfalls of Skipping the Storyboard

Ever tried to assemble IKEA furniture without instructions? That’s what writing without a storyboard can feel like. Sure, some writers thrive on a more free-form approach, but for those of us who appreciate a road map, a storyboard can prevent literary detours and dead ends.

Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail

So, to storyboard or not to storyboard? Well, as with all things writing-related, it comes down to personal preference. Even if you’re not a heavy outliner and prefer to fly by the seat of your writing pants, storyboarding can still help you organize your thoughts.