Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The Devil is in the (Plot) Details
Writerly Wednesday

Give Action to Turning Points
By now I have a vague idea of what Plot Details the Plot Points will correlate to. These are pretty darned vague at the moment, though, and I may not know all of them because I'm building it as I go.

The first thing I do is take a post-it note in my Plot Detail color (small orange ones in this case) and add a very brief (only a word or two) to the Plot Points. This gives me an idea of what happens of significant note at each of them.

Inciting Event
In this case I didn't add a note for Inciting Event because I already knew what it was (because I'm going into the storyboard with two chapters already written.) If I was to write one, it would say "Meet at work training".

This is one I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it, so I leave it blank for now. Notice that I didn't put a blank orance note on it. I want it to be obvious that it's missing its Plot Detail.

This one now says "Ex-husband shows up."

This one is "Melissa discovers Erik is a shifter."

This is "Melissa's House is burglarized."

This is now "Ex kidnaps Melissa"

I don't actually tend to write a Plot Detail note for this one because I write romances and it would just end up being "HEA".

Notice that these are an escalation. Each one should feed on the one before and build the tension of the story and the characters. Each should build the tension of the story. This one goes from meeting and lusting after each other, to the threat of the ex showing up, to the discovery that Erik is a coyote shifter, to the burglary, to the kidnapping.

Here's how the board looks:

Add Plot Detail Notes

Add POV Scene Summaries
Now you need to start writing POV Scene summaries in the larger Post-It notes in the color of the POV character. If you change your mind about whose POV the scene should be in, rewrite the note in that color. This becomes important later when you are looking at visual balance of color to tell you whether the story is too heavy in a single POV.

In my case, I already have the first two chapters of this story written. I took those chapters and translated them into POV notes, then placed those notes in the correct chapter.

Then I wrote what I thought were my notes for Chapter Three. Here's what the storyboard looks like at this point:

Add POV Summary Notes 1-3

Each time you complete a chapter's worth of the POV Summaries, you should look at what you wrote and make sure that the summaries actually make sense with the Plot Detail. Do they make it happen? Does it make sense with the chapters that procede it? Fixing it now will save you from fixing it later or complaints that it doesn't make sense.

And here's a closeup of Chapter Three's square:

Chapter 3 - Plot Detail and POV Scene Summary Mismatch

If you read the POV notes, you'll see that they don't really match the Plot Detail note. The POV summaries sound more like a sweet innocent lunch date, not a "can't resist each other".

So I rewrote those POV summaries into this new version:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Notice that this is now MUCH more in line with the Plot Detail. Now they're kissing and necking.

The idea of having the assistant be a werewolf was one of the little things that appear. Even in plotting and storyboarding there is room for these whims and ideas to show up.

Add Sex Notes As You Go

Notice that the Chapter Three revised picture has new little notes - the ones in yellow are my Sex notes. I want the sex to escalate as well and in this chapter they kiss and neck so I've made notes to be sure I know where the characters are in the intimacy arc.

Continue this Process
Now I have to continue this same process through the rest of the storyboard.

Next week I'll show you the completed board and any other notes I may have added and talk about how it translates into the actual story.


  1. I (heart) storyboarding! Looks great, Maura!

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