Today I am thrilled to welcome Francis Guenette, author of The Crater Lake Series. Her novels Disappearing in Plain Sight and The Light Never Lies are set on the shore of a Northern Vancouver Island lake, rich in rural life, family dynamics, and romance.
Francis has a talent for bringing her characters to life. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book where both the characters and the setting felt so real and alive. I was truly impressed with her writing in Disappearing in Plain Sight. Her style was sharp and vivid, grabbing my attention from the first page. I look forward to devouring The Light Never Lies.
Francis is here today to explain how she utilizes a storyboard. I’m a visual person, so turning a book idea into a visual tool, with the use of a storyboard, works for me. It can help make the story’s structure much easier to grasp and handle. Let’s take a look at how Francis uses a storyboard to create her page turning novels.
Many thanks, Jill, for this invitation to appear on your blog and write about the use of a storyboard for novel planning.
I view the storyboard as a concrete sign of my progression as a serious writer. For my first book, Disappearing in Plain Sight, I outlined and brainstormed on random bits of paper all held together with a bulldog clip. For, The Light Never Lies, I graduated to what I called my mini-book outline pages – one page for each chapter, covered with post-it notes. I could move the notes around from chapter to chapter, group related scenes, and colour-code settings and backstory bits, but there was a lot of shuffling involved.
The overview nature of the storyboard was something I longed for. With the third book in the Crate Lakes Series – Chasing Down the Night – it has become a reality. One of my Christmas gifts was a 2 foot by 3 foot corkboard. I leaned it, at eye level, against a cabinet in my writing space. Then I backed the entire board with paper. I sectioned off areas in the center to represent settings. Next, I created character post-it notes (1.5 inch by 2 inch) and stuck these up all over the settings. Various lines (solid and dotted) were drawn to represent connections and relationships between the characters. Around the outside, I stuck bigger post-it notes (3inches by 3 inches) that act as mini character sketches, jottings about main events, climaxes and resolutions.
As the planning for my next novel continues, the storyboard attracts bits of information – a fancy postcard that sets the mood, the book’s title, a poem, arrows and lines. I can imagine photos and pictures cut from magazines pinned up along the edges. The board is a magnet for layers of ideas, each addition a doorway opening to more and more.
The beauty of the storyboard is that I can see the scope of the entire book at a glance. It doesn’t take more than a moment to scribble down an idea and stick it up on the board.
The visual, tactile nature of the storyboard stimulates my creativity in ways that typing notes into a Word document would never do. There is something so right brain about it all.
So, there you have it – a guest post in praise of the storyboard – forward ho!
Francis Guenette has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher. The Light Never Lies is her second novel. Francis blogs over at http://disappearinginplainsight.com and maintains a Facebook author page. Please stop by and say hello.