Building the Story Board for My Next Novel


Started my next novel a couple of months ago. Well…about a decade ago. It started off as a short story that went in every direction but right. So I chopped out everything but the first five or six lines and started from scratch to write a novella that quickly became the beginnings of a novel.

I wrote the saved lines in a story dump (a notebook I carry around to write down ideas for a novel until I have about 30 scenes identified) and spent the last couple of months dumping ideas into the dump.

I fell short of 30 scenes and had to settle for 28…but what the hell. You only live as many times as they’ll let you.

My last novel took forever to write, probably because I took a few years off to study photography and the research for the novel was monumental. And then someone made a movie that has similarities to the novel, so I’m putting it on hold for a year or two before I try to do anything with it.

At least it’s finished.

So now I have the beginnings of my next story board up, and notice that everything is blocked out? Not going to be any similarities with this one.

I always story board my novels. It makes it so much easier to see how everything fits together. It’s a big visual picture of the plot of your novel. You can see where scenes are missing, where one scene should come before another scene, where one scene repeats another scene, where two scenes should be merge or where a scene should just be dropped.

Oh, and those gaps are where I know I’m going to need new scenes. And the one at the end…that’s what I’m working toward.

I tell my writing students that most people have a beginning and (maybe) an ending for that novel they’ve always wanted to write…but very little in between…maybe three or four scenes. The story board is the fastest, most effective way I know of to get those missing scenes to join the beginning to the ending with an actual story.


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