Friday, July 08, 2011

Let Me Tell You a Storyboard

Originally published at Absentminded Author, v1.

For the past few weeks I've been working on storyboarding my first draft. I thought, "Hey! I need a way to see my story's pacing visually." At first I thought I would thumbnail the entire story just like Pixar would do, complete with stick figures in action sequences.

Then I had a good laugh. Yeah, like I want to put off the second draft for the next year as I meticulously illustrate every scene. You don't think I could really just stick figure it, do you? Yeah, I can see the blood, sweat & tears now as I render each frame dramatically, using models as references, inked by brush, maybe some color…

Then I thought I'd just use index cards. I became much happier with that thought.

I use red for action, yellow for dialogue, and green for setting and description. I'm looking for red/green/red/green combos that show action scenes rudely interrupted by wonderful tracts of descriptive prose. I dislike reading books where the action is interrupted by flashbacks, character backgrounds, or hyper realistic settings detail that stops the action dead in its tracks and forces you to slog through paragraphs of detail.

If you followed me on Twitter, you know that Chapter Six — The Chapter That Refused To Die — was a problem one for me. I even split it into chapters 6-8 and it is STILL too long. It's also filled with red/green/red/green combos of beautiful prose that kills the action as effectively as an 18 wheeler in the path of bicyclists.

I can also see that the first chapter is heavy on description and sparse on dialogue. Lots to fix before I begin the 2nd draft and get the book in the hands of eager readers.

It's a laborious process which I'm very glad I'm doing. Being a full-time dad, however, without his 16 year old built-in babysitter has meant that I haven't had much writing time this Summer, so the storyboarding process has taken too long. I hope to finish things up next week when she returns. We'll see.