This past Tuesday, I posted a picture of my big-ass storyboard as part of a tour of my office space. A few of my wonderful commenters expressed interest in knowing more about how exactly my storyboard is set up. So this post will be devoted to answering this question. Below you'll find close-up pictures and descriptions of my process. It's probably the craziest process out there (and, judging by my slower than molasses rate of production, perhaps not the smartest) but I like it and I hope that maybe you find it interesting. At the very least, it could be a tutorial in what not to do. At any rate, I'd like to warn anyone who maybe hopes to one day read my novel to not look too closely at these pictures because they will contain spoilers.
The story also takes place in four separate countries. None of these settings are equipped with wi-fi or telephones or a pair of cans connected by a string. None of them have any sort of mail delivery service that doesn't require the use of a horse or ship or some combination of the two. All of this time needs to be accounted for. All of these places need to have names, and I need to remember that when, in chapter one, the capital city of Eluned is located in the northeast quadrant, it had better be in the same place come chapter twenty.
But because I am
The yellow post-it notes are those which still require my attention. They've been moved from the storyboard to the bottom of my monitor so that when I start wasting away my time on Facebook or Twitter or Minesweeper or whatever (not that I ever do that), I'll see them and guiltily stop what I am doing and go back to what I should be doing. Sometimes it works.
This is a series of emails I received from my last beta reader. These are the notes she gave me. The highlighted portions are the notes I wanted to make sure I really paid attention to. Hmmm. That makes it sound like I didn't care about the rest. Which isn't true. I am, as always, grateful for any and all feedback I receive. I give it all very careful consideration.
This is a titles list for the entire planned series. Five books, each written in three parts. And don't you just love that font? I do. It's really the only reason I took the time to print out a copy of it.
This picture contains the BIGGEST DAMN SPOILERS of all, so please just kind of squint when you look at it. This is obviously a family tree (created for free at Family Echo). I created it to help me keep track of characters. Plus, it just kind of looks cool. But because I couldn't figure out how to get it to print everything (I am not known for my technical know how), I had to write in the rest. It really worked out better this way because I don't have the storyboard space for a multi-paged family tree.
This is the most embarrassing thing on the big-ass storyboard, so much so that I'm a little surprised I posted it here. Oh well. This, in case it's unclear, is the prototype for my book cover. I know. I'm such an amazing artist you don't know why I'm wasting my talent writing books. Please don't injury yourselves laughing. Seriously though, don't hurt yourselves.
One afternoon last year, I got the idea to make a mock-up of something I thought would be cool, but I have absolutely no artistic talent (which should be painfully obvious to you now) and I have no idea how to use Photoshop or Gimp or any of those types of programs. So I decided to print out a couple of pictures (I don't even have a color printer) that I liked (even if the woman is missing the top of her head and the guy would ideally be facing the other direction and not have a quiver of arrows on his back) and sketch in the rest. The cross is supposed to be a dagger and the empty circle behind it is supposed to be something cool, like a stained glass window, but I didn't even know how to go about sketching that so it's just a circle.
This is what I do when I have to work out problems in chapters, more specifically the ordering of scenes. I wrote about it in detail back in January, but here's a recap: each slip of paper has written on it a one line description of the scene. Blank slips of paper represent scenes that need to exist but don't because I don't know what they are yet. In this format, I can easily shuffle them around until I nail down the order I want them to be in. Transitions and flow between scenes are very important to me and this helps me make the most of it. Most of the time. When my dining room table isn't available for this exercise (read: when I'm too lazy to clean it off...), I use post-it notes and my Serenity movie poster.
So there you have it. Those are the contents of my big-ass storyboard (and my dining room table). Not traditional in any sense, but when have I ever done anything traditional? I apologize for the length of this post—I hope you don't regret your interest in the big-ass storyboard and that you didn't fall asleep at your computer while reading it. And if you did, I hope you didn't drool all over the keyboard. Talk about your messy clean up.
Have a great weekend, all. See you Monday.