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How Storyboarding Helps Writers (and Readers!) Understand Your Story

By Audrey Quinn

When you  think of storyboarding, do you think it’s a  tool used solely by film directors?.Turns out it’s not! Writers of all genres can benefit from storyboarding when it comes time to put pen to paper. 

What is Storyboarding?

Storyboarding is a powerful writing tool where yousketchkey points in yourplot to describe what’s happening in a particular scene. It used to be primarily popular amongst movie, film, and television directors but, nowadays, writers in all genres use storyboarding to aid their creative process. 

Even people who don’t consider themselves “artists” can benefit from storyboarding! All that matters is that you know what;s happening in the scene, and have a visual cue that you understand. 

Benefits of Storyboarding for Writers

Writers across all genres can benefit from storyboarding. 

For one thing, it helps you create a roadmap of where you want your story to go, and it forces you to think very hard about each of the scenes along the trip from beginning to end. 

By having a board with visual sketches, you can  more easily see places where you might need more movement from the characters, or more dialogue. 

Another benefit of storyboards is that, depending on how the board is designed, you  can move yoursketched-out scenes around if youneed to. For example, you  might look at your storyboard and realize it makes more sense for a particular scene to happen earlier or later in the story, or maybe you realize a scene would be more dramatic if its temporal placement was shifted. 

Benefits of Storyboarding for Readers

Readers can also benefit both directly and indirectly from storyboards! 

Writers that have employed their storyboarding techniques often put a great deal of time into planning out their characters’ individual stories, and their plot as a whole. Decent storyboards can lead to highly intricate stories where readers can go back and discover something new, or notice a little detail they hadn’t before, each time they reread it. 

ome writers choose to share their storyboards with their audience. I personally love seeing the storyboards for my favorite TV shows, movies, graphic novels, and comics (Rick and Morty, Star Wars, and Howl’s Moving Castle all have some really interesting storyboards you can find online!) 

Depending on how much time, skill, and energy went into the storyboards, they can become a whole other work of art that goes along with the original story. It’s also fun to look at storyboards and compare them to the finished media and see what the writer chose to change!

Hopefully, now that you know what storyboarding entails, and how it benefits both writers’ and readers’ understanding of a story, you can employ this tool in your own work. 

If you are a reader, or someone who enjoys movies and TV shows, try looking up the storyboards for some of your favorite works! They’re a great source of inspiration, and, in my opinion, also provide a more in-depth understanding of some of the writers’ choices in crafting their stories.

Upcoming classes you might enjoy

Prompt

Give your writing engine a jump-start at this monthly in-person generative writing workshop. Led by Wordcrafters staff, Daryll Lynne Evans and Jeaux Bartlett, you’ll play with prompts to jolt your creativity into writing action and generate new ideas and stories.

1st Thursdays, starting September 5 | Age 16+

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