Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Colorful Story

This is my new storyboard for Gino's Law. The first row contains the scenes for Act I, the second row is Act II to the Midpoint, and the third row has scene cards for the rest of Act II.

I tossed the cards for Act III (not written yet) because what I had planned for the final Act was just too ... sucky. I'm still workin' on it.

This is a close-up of how the cards are used. The top of the card shows the location of the scene and the bottom is the name I've chosen for it. That way, if I later want to know where the "helicopter" bit is, I can find it quickly.

The middle of the card has the conflict, indicated by ><, and over on the far right, bottom, is the emotional arc the character goes through, indicated by + for positive, - for negative.

The cards can be flipped up to view the details of each scene.

The beauty of this system is that the cards can be shuffled around or even discarded until you get it just the way you want it. What is most helpful (to me, at least) is to actually see the whole novel plotted out in front of me.

I love this, and wish I could totally take credit for the system. But no, it's adapted from Blake Snyder's Save the Cat (for screenwriting,) and from one of the people in my writer's group who came up with the accordian-style card arrangement. For a screenplay, you'd have only one card in each spot, but for a novel you need to group them in sets (for the obvious reason that a novel is much longer than a screenplay.) The black foam board was Pooks' idea. The multi-colored cards was something I chose. Some people color-code elements of their stories, but I didn't do that. I just thought the colors looked great against the black background.

There was an ongoing discussion about how best to group the cards. The guy in our group who came up with this uses little pieces of masking tape for each card. I experimented with a glue stick, but after a while, the cards started falling off. Pooks uses push pins, which is fine because she's writing a screenplay and doesn't need to have the accordian-style groups. Push pins won't work for that. Tomcat came up with the brilliant idea of using thumbtacks! I'm surrounded by genius.