Story and Image Boards

Blank Calendar

I first learned about plotting a book using a Story Board at my local chapter’s Boot Camp. I loved the concept and used it (for the most part) on my first manuscript.

With my second manuscript, simply because I no longer have an office or even I space that I can pretend belongs to just me, I have a virtual Story or Image Board.

If you use MS Word for your word processor, you can use a template for a simple calendar as your Story Board. It has more than the 20 squares that are recommended for a 20 Chapter book with 15 to 20 pages per chapter. But have you seen the length of chapters in some of Dan Brown’s books? They are sometimes only a few paragraphs long, so the length of the chapter is not really important, it’s the scene(s) that you place in that little box that make a difference.

If you find that your box keeps expanding because you’re placing a lot of text in there, then your missing the point. You just want the gist of the scene, not everything about the scene.

Example: Using the movie Clueless for demonstration purposes – don’t hate =)

  • Instead of: Cher wants to hook her new friend Tai up with Elton at the Valley Party
  • Use: Tai/Elton meet at Valley Party

Here are some links to places that explain StoryBoarding better than me:

The next extension of a Story Board – it’s wild and crazy cousin is an Image Board. Whether it’s physical (hanging on the wall of your office) or digital (I have mine easily accessible when writing), this is the “fun part” of story boarding; at least for me.

My Hero

My Heroine

For my Image Board, there are a few celebrities males in Hollywood that I . . .um, admire. And a fair share of actresses/models that I wouldn’t mind being for a day. Having images of them (since they are soooo easy to find), my descriptions of the characters come alive so much easier. I even took the liberty (via Photoshop) to change the eye color of my celebrity to match my hero. *geek fun* The only hard time I have is that I sometimes insert myself into the romance that I’m writing instead of the heroine. Bad . . .but fun.

Other pictures to have on your Image Board:

  • Scenery/location pictures – of where the characters meet/collide
  • Colors, images from costume books or magazines
  • Foods that they eat – faves
  • Pets, kids, relatives
  • Villain
  • Things that your characters love/hate

Those are just some ideas to start. Hope you have fun Story and Image Boarding!


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