I like to visually lay out my story plots. Then, as I'm writing, I can go back and look at the big picture for reminders on structure, plot points and character arcs (or I'll tweak the storyboard if the story/characters have changed). When I first looked for online storyboard options, I found some rather expensive ones that screenwriters use but eventually I found one that was much cheaper (StoryboardTHAT which used to be $4.95/month, with first month free). I used StoryboardTHAT for several books. Below is an example of how I used it to visually lay out the setup of a novel:
Note: The story structure I use is from the book Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, which applies screenwriting techniques to the craft of writing a novel. I've read the entire book, and use these high-level structural elements from the book to create my storyboard: Setup, First Plot Point, Response, Midpoint, Pinch Point, Attack, Second Plot Point, Resolution. If you're curious about using these elements in your storyboard, I suggest buying Story Engineering and reading it all the way through first so you understand the reasons behind the structures and how they build on each other. I have found this book to be invaluable.
But after StoryboardTHAT increased its price to $9.95/month, I decided to end my subscription as I didn't use it often enough to justify paying more each month.
That's when I started looking around for other storyboarding options, hoping to find something inexpensive...good news is that I discovered two free options!
Free Storyboard Option #1: MS Word
(This assumes, of course, that you already have Word on your computer)
I was reading a screenwriters forum on storyboard apps and online products to see what products they recommended when I stumbled on a comment by a member who said they were all missing the boat -- that the best storyboard tool was MS Word which they probably already had on their computers. That was my writer aha moment -- I've used Word for years, and he's right. It has some handy tools for creating visual images that can easily be used for storyboarding. For example, check out Word's "Insert SmartArt Graphic options" (Click on SmartArt in the toolbar):
Free Storyboard Option #1: Pinterest
Check out the below article by writer Sharon Arthur Moore on how she uses Pinterest for book promotion and storyboarding. When I storyboard my next novel, I'm going to give Pinterest a try.
Happy writing! Colleen