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The Storyboard
by Gloria T. Delamar

A great way to see how your article, nonfiction book, short story, or novel is progressing, is to create a storyboard. 

You'll need a "base" on which to move around the pieces of stickums that comprise the "pieces" for your storyboard. It needn't be anything fancy: you can use a large cardboard, a wall, your study door, or whatever. You can tape together several pieces of standard paper that will make a base that can easily be folded up and fit into a folder (don't place any of the stickums on the folds, though). You may recognize that this is the same technique as the flannel-board; if you like, get a piece of flannel and make a roll-up storyboard. 

Use stickum pads for the crucial information you want to track, jotting down words, phrases, names, etc. They're available in several sizes, with 2" x 1 1/2" or 3" x 3" being the most common. 

Track different kinds of information with different colors of stickums. Or try using different colored pens to follow different aspects. For short pieces, you'll work in units or scenes. For books, you'll probably want to deal with the progression in terms of the chapters. 

For nonfiction--track organization, research, background, people involved, points made, etc. With many projects, you can play with the placement of chapters by putting their titles and general contents on separate stick- ums. Then move them around until you see the progression you want. (Of course, some projects are so obviously meant to take a certain course, that a storyboard isn't helpful.) 

For fiction--track plot development, complications, follow-through of sub-plots, character involvement, clues, etc. Follow the places where specific plot developments occur: the love interest, the protogonist/antagonist confrontations, etc. 

When you have your basic information entered, you can see the options for best presentation. Freely playing with your pieces opens your mind to new approaches. Try it. The storyboard can give you a useful overall view of what you're doing--it's another tool of the writer's art. 

- ©  Gloria T. Delamar

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