To take the mass of mess to first draft, you have to find a pathway through it. Something a reader can make sense of. This is where the writer from New York was stuck.
"I'm on the edge," she told me. "There is almost a ream of paper with different chapters. There are different beginnings. There are different endings. How do I weed through all this?"
Storyboarding is the easiest way I know chart a map through the mess.
Wasn't it better just to let it flow?
In two weeks, I'll be teaching a Storyboard Retreat on Madeline Island in the wilds of Lake Superior. A location to dive into your book. We will explore different uses of the W storyboard as an initial map to brainstorm or make sense of that messy draft. We'll study the five pivot points of any story, one each at the beginning and end, three placed at optimal points to keep the book's energy alive.
Once you discover these five points, you can build your book's map. This week's exercise takes you through the steps.
2. Get a posterboard or large sheet of paper. Draw a big W on it.
3. Brainstorm 5-10 key dramatic points in your story so far. What has a real dramatic effect, with something happening outwardly? What have you written about? What might you include?
4. Read through these and see if you can choose the 5 most dramatic moments. Place them on the 5 points of the W in logical order. Review the video for the triggering event and ending event's requirements.
5. To see if you've chosen well, ask yourself if they follow the rising and falling action of their position on the W. (See the video for more information on this.) Begin to flow the other scenes you've written.
6. Place them between the 5 points on the W, using Post-It notes.
PS Excited about a Storyboard Retreat? Join me July 27-31 on Madeline Island for coaching, classes, and plenty of writing time. See more details here.