Storyboard Outlining for Your Novel

I finally finished my storyboard! A week ago, I talked about making a physical outline for my novel and how confusing things had gotten without it.

Well, the dining room table is now cleared off and ready for eating on again. My mess of outlining my novel is gone and I definitely learned some things along the way that I wanted to share with you all.

Basically, a storyboard, or physical outline as I call it, is a bird's eye view of your novel. You can look above all the details and see the big picture of how your story will progress.

How do I know if I really need to make a storyboard?

Of course, after I went through making my own storyboard, I'm now a firm believer. I knew since the beginning of NaNoWriMo this year that I was going to need to create a storyboard because my plot was getting a little out of hand. If your novel is getting away from you like mine was, then you can definitely benefit from a storyboard. When I first started writing this novel in July, I had a rough outline of what I wanted in this story.

But something happened.

My story diverged from my outline, like it does with so many writers out there. This isn't a bad thing, but my plot diverged down more paths that I could keep track of with my rough outline.

It was time for an intervention.

If this sounds like you at all, you should probably try to make a physical copy of your outline.

If there's anyone here that's into psychology, maybe you can help me out with this one: I'm much more creative when I have physical tools in my hand. I can't outline to the chapter level if I'm just using a keyboard. I need a pen in my hand and chicken scratch notes on paper to figure out where my story is going. This might be why I enjoyed making a storyboard so much - I could more thoroughly plot my story with pretty colored markers in my hand.

Not only did this storyboard help me straighten out my plot, but it also helped me find plot holes. This is HUGE! If there's any way that you can find these before investing the time in betas or the money in editors, then you need to try it. I realized that I jumped scenes at some points and that some scenes were better suited in different places. I had characters appear out of thin air (okay, one character but I still found it amusing he magically came to the page of his own accord), a subplot that had no beginning, and an ending that was kind of eh.

If your novel is lacking something and you just can't figure out what it is, pick up those markers and get to plotting!