How to Outline Your Novel – The Storyboard



two weeks ago I talked about making a physical outline of my book because things had just gotten out of whack well now I can successfully say that the dining room table is cleared off and ready for eating once again I definitely learned some things along the way that I wanted to share with you guys today I say storyboard I mean an outline of your novel and this is basically a bird's eye view of your book you're able to look above all the details and see how exactly your story is going to progress so how do I know if I need a storyboard of course after I went through making my own storyboard I'm a firm believer in doing it I knew since the beginning of NaNoWriMo that I was going to need to do this so if your novel is getting away from you like mine was then a storyboard might be a good idea for you when I actually first started writing this novel back in July I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do with the story but things kind of got carried away my story completely diverged from my outline like it does with many writers now this isn't exactly a bad thing because I really like when my story's gone but it was definitely time for a plot intervention now if this sounds at all like you you should probably make a hard copy of your outline now if anybody watching this knows anything about psychology and they would like to explain why this happens please please please do so because I can't outline to the chapter level with just my computer and my keyboard I cannot do it I have to have physical pin in hand markers whatever it may be but I can't create the outline of the story unless I'm doing it by here definitely if that sounds like you used to do an outline my notes for my novel literally look like chicken scratch but that's okay because I'm creating so not only did this storyboard help me to straighten out my plot again but it also helped me find plot holes that is cute if there's any way that you can find these before you invest time in beta readers and editors then please by all means try it in my own story I realized that I jumped scenes at certain points and that some scenes were actually better suited in different places I had characters appear out of thin air okay it was just one character but it was really weird he really wanted to be on the page I had a subplot that had no beginning and then an ending that was kind of there was okay if your novel is lacking something and you cannot figure out what it is then pick up those markers and get to plotting so how did I go about making the perfect storyboard outline well I went to vanilla Walmart so a couple weeks ago I talked about a trifold poster board that I wanted to get Walmart of course was fresh out of those so I picked a regular flat foam ish board I say foam ish because I'm not exactly sure what it is I just know that gladly tape does not rip it apart I'll get to that in a minute I also got some flashcards and some markers because I didn't feel like getting high while creating this outline and I didn't want it to bleed through to my table so once I gathered all of my supplies up I made a major list of things that happen in my novel starting with these scenes that already existed in my Scrivener project now if you don't use Scrivener and you haven't outlined at all then you can start from what you've already written and go scene by scene to make a new outline if your already existing story now these don't end up being chapters for me they're literally just small scenes they're not quite small enough that they're considered feats I may have two or three that comprise one chapter you can go as close down to the storyline as you want to or you can have it as wide as you want to in my case I went down to the team level so since I had limited space I ended up cutting up the cards so that they were smaller so I would write a scene down for example Abby gets published and then I like cut that little section off the rest of the note card and stick it on my board actually before I stuck it onto my board I spread them all out on my dining room table now poor Stephen had to put up with this for about a week so you guys need to give him some kudos please but that was just to get everything in proper order I ended up moving scenes around a lot my story is told from the perspective of a brother and a sister and then I realized about halfway through my story that the sister was getting a spotlight time so this prompted a slew of rearranging and then some more writing and reloading that's to happen later on this was actually easier to spot for me because I chose to use different colored markers for different characters so Abby the sister was purple Ben which is her brother was Green the mother was blue their grandmother was pink mr. Flynn which is a family friend was brown and then the evil wicked woman was red so interesting sidenote to my story I have yet to name the evil wicked red woman I have literally called her red since July since I started writing a story so if anybody is interested in having a giveaway that you will have full rights to name that character maybe let me go and then I might actually doing it away for it now what if you're like Vivian I'm a panther I don't need no freakin storyboard so what happens if your app answer and you thrive on the unknown you should still try a storyboard if you prefer riding by the scene your pants then I would recommend waiting until you have a good portion of your story written or even the whole thing if you want that's kind of what I did but I am NOT an app answer at all it's bad there's a certain point in your writing that you can no longer physically hold all the information in your head all the characters the scenes the settings the romantic scenes everything it's a lot when you look back on it even if you're using something like Scrivener which I am I have all these things laid out but when you get to writing sometimes they change a little bit and then you forget to go back and rewrite them into your existing notes it also can be difficult to remember what scene went where so back in July I wrote 50,000 words I took a tiny break and then ended up writing about 20,000 words between July and then November which is a big break and then I ended up writing another 50,000 words in November but my point was that I took such a large break that I couldn't remember what I had gone back and rewritten what I had finally decided on I had renamed some characters and then forgot what I named them so the break wasn't all bad because I can actually look at my story from a distance and I could already see that I needed to do some rewrites but in the end instead of looking at that place I would end up writing v-word place because I had changed it a couple times already so storyboarding can actually help you realize great have these inconsistencies like I did for a cancer I would actually consider this to be a faith more of in the editing process than in the pre-draft portion of your writing by making a storyboard outline like this you can go through with a wide tooth comb and see exactly where the tangles are also you can use this phase to add a little tidbit of foreshadowing or little hints about what's to come that you might not have seen earlier in your writing so what were my results with the storyboard after slaving over this outline for a week just kidding it was really fun I ended up adding 32 new scenes and now have to rewrite about 13 that is a lot and that may seem like a lot a lot when you think about the fact that I have 115,000 words already but I know that some of this is going to be care down because this storyboard actually helped me realize that there's also some things that I don't need they might pertain to the story but they don't necessarily need to be in this novel it's information that can actually be used in the next book and when I originally started writing this story I thought that 90,000 words was gonna be a good goal I crushed that and then there's still a lot to write I personally never realized I could write that much and a part of me worries that it's spent too much but that's actually what the beta readers are gonna be for and they're gonna let me know this too or not we'll see I guess by the way I can't wait to start the beta reading process because I love being a beta reader and I can't wait for some beta readers to tear medvedev so my goal is to have my first draft completed by the end of December so subtracting the six days I know I'm going to be visiting relatives that leaves me a little over a week to write all of these things so I'm really gonna have to buckle down and focus so the most important thing that I learned in making this storyboard was that I love my story I already liked it before but every writer gets those moments where you just feel like you are the previus writer in the world you don't know what you're doing you're writing stucks you have no motivation the list literally goes on and on and every writer feels this at one point or another but this storyboard actually made me feel really good about my writing I'm actually so close to being finished with my first draft and I can't believe that I'm this close like so many other people out there I wanted to be a writer my entire life and I'm getting closer and closer to it so it's really exciting it also helps that I've had an overwhelming response from my friends and my readers who are interested in my story and it just makes my day every time for those of you who might be interested I'm actually going to be open for beta readers early next year and when I get closer to it I'm actually going to make another announcement for it so that's all I have for you guys today don't forget to subscribe to my channel I post new videos every Wednesday so if you have any questions or if you have any suggestions for my next video be sure to tweet me at Vivian Reece bye guys

43 thoughts on “How to Outline Your Novel – The Storyboard

  1. Have a suggestion for a new video? Add it here and vote for your favorites: http://bit.ly/VivienVote

  2. psychological reason why pen and paper are better than the keyboard:
    It might be because you are used to using pen and paper via the school years? Some students had to pen and paper outline their essays, or any other writing assignment they had.

  3. Kudos Steve! You are a real champ and on a real level thank you for showing that not all Men are fucking assholes that are demanding and just trash, that puts a negative look on us actual really caring, polite and respectful Gentleman that are out there! Much respect! Also again, great video and I appreciate the advice and I am watching other videos now! I subbed as well! :3

  4. I’m working on writing my first Novel and I am working on a outline of my story and where I want it to go! I first realized I needed an outline when I new that their were three different ways that I could wanted to take the book and I really liked all of them! So I did a “Story Web” from the start of the book (which I had a few different ideas with how I wanted the start to go) to the end of the book and did this for each of my three ideas as well as for each of my five beginnings! So a lot of story lines! But it’s turning out really great and awesome, and it’s really allowing me to see where each story can go and what I can do within each story that I might not be able to do with one of the other stories! It’s been fun! I’m now beginning to physically hand write them out but in a very short form, basically I’m just turning my outline from “The Outline Form” to “The Written Form” And that is where I am currently at! But my goal after that is going to be, to read each of the stories back a couple times and on a separate sheet of paper, I am going to slowly start filling in gaps where I could see a good substantial story, or even little things, like if I think of how a piece of dialogue could fit in one of those “Gaps”, then I would write that down on that separate sheet of paper too! But yeah I just wanted to share that because this video is helping me think of how I can even change up my “Outline” in ways that could make the story even better than I feel it already is! Though I may be a Little Bitty, Teeny Tiny bit Biased in this matter I will admit! Lmao

  5. I’m pretty much a pantser too. I think of an idea and flesh out my main character (or 2) in depth and anyone else who is important for the story plot even if they don’t directly appear A lot but their actions will. Then I have a rough beginning and then how I want the idea to end (aligning with characters personalities) and then I just select a point which would be an interesting place to start and wouldn’t drag out the story or make it too short and then I let my characters drive the story as I give them scenarios which they adapt to. Which slowly get the story from point A to point B.

  6. I love you, Vivien, I know love is a strong word, one that brought chaos to many lives throughout history and I seek destruction if it comes to me with your pretty face and your soothing voice

  7. 1. The reason many authors find their stories change throughout is their subconcsious realising certain avenues are unrealistic or not as archetypal. Archetypes are archetypes because we are reasonably hard-wired to our Biological underpinnings. E.g. snakes have always represented evil because many years ago in our Evolutionary history they were the only real predator we had to watch out for. Your story changing as you go through is your more instinctual side correcting your societal conscious' flambuoyancy or trying to be too clever. Often, authors who let their story change and be guided as they write, read much more organically.
    2. Hard copying and concreting a story like this helps you write – but it hinders the organic growth of your novel, in my opinion.
    3. This will be read by most as offensive, but it isn't. The reason most, nay, nearly all, writers cannot fathom their entire novel in writing only, or in their heads is verbal IQ. Now, let me clarify. I am NOT saying it indicates low IQ. I am saying people who can construct in their heads entire plots purely verbally/written are super super high verbal IQ (like 160+) which is 0.1% of all people. Most people need visual and kinaesthetic aids to get better coverage and understanding of the intricacies of a 100k+ word novel.

    When you consider plot points, character behaviour and growth etc, you are juggling hundreds, sometimes thousands of variables. You are also always thinking about these variables and become blind to plotholes and issues. Readers spot them far easier as they unfold your story from scratch with no prior knowledge.

    Anyone who can run through hundreds/thousands of variables in their head and in a written process are bloody super geniuses, which us mortals will never achieve, even with practice.

    I'd say nearly all authors cannot encapsulate it all in their heads purely on simple brain capability.

  8. No offense intended but I love your tips but I always get bored watching, any chance u could make your videos more engaging? Thanks! X

  9. The great part about being broke and trying to write is that you can steal your friends to proof read your story between classes

  10. Do you have a example? Than I havr a visual picture in my head by what you can do with a storyboard

  11. I use to be a pancer (is that spelt Right) until I went to school and developed a habit of writing and stopping. I found the outline helped in a major way. Even sketching out a character portfolio

  12. Just getting started! But this helped a lot. I’ve been searching for someone to put this in K.I.S.S. format. You nailed it. Subbing up. Be back when I get stuck again or to give you an update in my story!

  13. I have been trying write a novel which is based around my original kaiju character named Monsturra, and I'm still working on it, and I'm getting frustrated. I know how to make a outline, but I feel like I have way too many ideas floating in my head. How would you suggest in fixing this issue?

  14. Since you're talking about the outline, you probably process information better visually by seeing the whole outline at once and being able to take the time to read it thoroughly as you write.

  15. It might have to do with sameness, it might also so that having it in your hand gives it presents, like holds someone’s hand.

  16. Dear Vivian Reis, at 2:11, why do you imagine anyone can understand your croaking sounds? I sure can't. It's a shame really. You seem nice and have good qualities but you need to work on eliminating this croaking business that you use at every important point or parenthetical statement. Please, please fix this bad habit.

  17. When you look at your book and realize it got so off what you wanted that you just rewrite the whole story…

  18. I like Scrivener's index card view.

    I've tried a few other apps, such as WriteWay and WriteItNow, which I also liked. But they didn't work as well in Linux. I use a Windows interpreter called Wine, which is better with some software than others. PLUS, Scrivener gave me hope, since they just released an upgrade for their Windows verstion.. which is their stepchild, compared to the Mac version. They made it run a little smoother, too.

    I tried to have my critique group analyze my outline, though, and most of them got cranky. You know, the old "We've never done that before." But a few got with the program, so I did get good feedback.

    So, I'm not only still a software guy, but still a Scrivener guy, too!

    Thanks for your encouragement.

    PS I don't know if the PC police will come for me, but i must compliment you on your beautiful eyes.

  19. Time well spent but why the quiet carnival music in the background? I find it distracting, especially since you narrate well.

  20. Awesome tips! I need to pare down all the ideas in my head and finalize my outline like you did. I have a first draft, but it needs some serious work!

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