Last weekend, Wordbitch, Trish Loye and I packed up our laptops, our moleskin notebooks and some wine and headed to the mountains for a writing weekend. Before we could leave the city, however I spotted it. Trish’s Storyboard.
We’d both been reading Blake Synder’s amazing screenwriting book, Save The Cat and Trish had already started to employ some of the techniques. Namely, the Storyboard. I looked at her board in awe. I had to have one.
So, a quick detour to Staples on our way out of town provided me with a board, index cards, and some shiny new tacks. I was ready. Here is the journey of the Storyboard, in pictures.
It wasn’t long after arriving that we unpacked the bags, plugged in the laptops and got to it. I broke out the board.
The title card was easy. I was going to Storyboard Drawing Free (otherwise known as Becca) I’ve been working on this story for years. I’ve written it, then completely rewritten it. I’ve edited, tweaked and written some more. I love this story. It needs to be told. But it drives me crazy. In a nutshell, the story is about an overwhelmed mom, who in the chaos of daily life has lost herself. One day, instead of picking her youngest up from school, she just keeps driving.
There was something missing. So, following Blake Synder’s advice, I was going to ‘beat it out’. I needed to make sure I had all the beats.
Opening image – Check
Theme stated – Check
Set-up – Oh yeah. Check
So far so good. I had all the parts that I was supposed to have. This was good. But wait.
What’s this? A Mid-point reversal!?
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Save The Cat, the mid-point reversal is a ‘false victory’ where the hero appears to have won. Or maybe the reverse of that, and the hero seems to have lost everything. The key here is it’s FALSE. This is where it seems to be figured out, but it’s not.
So, what was the mid-point reversal in my story? This is where I got hung up. I had three possible candidates for the scene. I just couldn’t be sure which it was.
Until I kept going.
I plugged in each scene to see which would work best. This is what happened.
A whole bunch of cutting, pasting, hi-lighting, and messy, messy files. The entire last third of my story went through a violent cut and paste surgery.
But guess what? It works now.
So I finished beating it out.
Bad guys close in? Check
All Is lost? For sure. Check.
Dark Night of the Soul? Check.
Break into three, finale and final image. Check, check and CHECK!
The board is done. But the work is just beginning. Again. This time I’m ready. I’m more than ready. I know how to fix what’s wrong with Becca. I know how to make her stronger. And more than that, I will.
If you’ve never tried a Storyboard, I strongly urge you to give it a go. I always dismissed the idea as something that wouldn’t work for me. I now feel very, very different.
I have a renewed love for my story and also, a slightly inappropriate love for my Storyboard which now occupies a place of honor in my office.