Pen Friends ~ Today’s interview is such a treat! Debut YA Author, Hanna Howard, shares about her upcoming novel, IGNITE THE SUN and her beautiful (and somewhat painful) journey to becoming an author. Don’t miss the blurb to her novel. The premise is entirely captivating!
Find your VOICE by writing these three exercises: Continue reading
After teaching on Storyboarding Monday night a few of you asked me to put my notes online. Here they are! If you want a more comprehensive teaching on Storyboarding, plus access to the template I use, and more, sign up for my newsletter on novamcbee.com 🙂 I’ll be sending this out and more.
(Note: my template is not online. This is a generic one.)
The Basics of Storyboarding
~It’s an outlining & plotting tool.
~It’s a calendar-type template that has an outline of 25-50 Chapters. Each row has 5 boxes. * I always print on both front and back because my novels are more than 50 chapters.
~Make sure there is a turning Point every fifth chapter.
~Black Moment in 23-24
~Realization in 24-25
~Build your scenes from notes and/or synopsis
~Illustrate Character Arc, can show both internal & external conflicts and resolutions
Here is how I optimize Storyboarding
It’s December 3rd. Many of us just finished NanoWrimo. Fact: I almost never get 50 thousand words. But I do get 30 thousand words.
In general, I outline the plot and character arcs and all major things I think will happen before I sit down to write. Then I write and play. In that way I am both a plotter and pantster. I write and write until the first draft is done. THEN, I storyboard. I write again. Then I storyboard a second time, and revise again. Let me give you more detail.
What I love to write & how Storyboarding relates:
•First lines, first paragraphs
•Hooks, inciting incidents
•Last lines & pay-offs
The way I write that first chapter, even first few chapters is crucial to get readers to turn the page. So, after my first draft, I use storyboarding asa way to check my scenes and overall pace of the story and story arc/character arc to see if it has that first chapter standard. Is the scene telling me something new? Moving me forward? Is there tension? Pay-offs? Did I foreshadows enough?
Another cool aspect isthat I can see if there are scenes that slow or sections that have far too much intense action or mystery. I can rearrange the board to fit better. I can move scenes and events, and then I can plan better pay-offs.
Overall Visual Representation
Then I read over those 50 boxes in about 20 minutes and I see the story as a whole in a very short amount of time. It’s very useful.
I always do this exercise with a pen and paper.My friends do it on their computer. Both are fine. I do all my novel writing on my laptop, but all my brainstorming is on messy notebooks and even messier storyboards.I love them, and they help me get a clear plan. Then, once I sit down to write, I accomplish much more, much faster. And I hope you can too.
Let me know if you have any questions.
As we know, a good first line of a book (and chapter) can do much more than just begin the story. It grabs our attention, sets the tone, reveals something to come, lets us taste the narrative & voice, gives the first impression, and can be locked into our memory for years to come IF it is done well.
Look at the 7 approaches below and study them. (FYI: Thanks to Lorie Langdon for sharing these with us!)
I’ve also added links to some of the most popular first lines in YA Literature. Compare, enjoy, and then mentally put them into their correct categories. Then look at your own first lines. Where does it fit? Practice rewriting your first sentence. And if you are so bold, share it in the comments!
- A statement of eternal principle
– Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
– Paper Towns by John Green: “The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.”
- A statement that conveys the narrative
– Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa: “I had a farm in Africa.”
– Stardust by Neil Gaiman: “There once was a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.”
– Stephen King’s 11/22/63: “I have never been what you’d call a crying man.”
– The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway: “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish..”
- Start mid-action
– Lorie’s current WIP:“A brisk gale whipped the sea into peaks that pitched the Skylark around like a leaf in a flooded stream.”
– The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner: “Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.”
- A statement of paired facts
– Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo:“Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache.”
– A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
- 6. Statement laced with significance and/or conflict
– Heather Webb’s Becoming Josephine: “The missive arrived in the night.”
- DOON by Corp and Langdon:“I skidded to a halt in the crowded corridor, totally unprepared for a showdown with the evil witch of Bainbridge High.”
- 7. Start with setting that evokes emotion, establishes mood, or raises questions
-A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas:“The forest had become a labyrinth of snow and ice.”
-Maria V. Snyer’s Poison Study: “Locked in darkness that surrounded me like a coffin, I had nothing to distract me from my memories.”
Nova, signing off!
Today’s prompt is inspired by Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West‘s first line. (Isn’t it great?)
“War is no good for the young, or for love…”
Take her brilliant first line, let it fuel your imagination and run with it…
Write for 10 minutes without stopping, post in the comments what you come up with! And be sure to check out Joanna’s book!
Signing off, Nova
In 200 words or less, what scene do those two words bring to your mind?
Then POST your prompt in the comments!
I wake to small warm drops on my face. A splash on my eyelids has me wiping away what feels like a tear. But tears were for yesterday. Today is for survival. My eyes crack open to a brilliant rainbow light coming thru the mist. I squint and try to remember what exactly happened last night.
My arms push my body up. That is when I notice the bruise on my leg. Dang it. So it is true. I’m marooned. On an island. Alone. In the middle of nowhere. And all because of one little lie.
There’s a rustle in the palms and a rhythm that sounds like footsteps. With great pain, I bend my leg and scoot behind a large bush doubtful it can hide me. Whatever it is, its getting closer. Maybe I’m not alone after all.
Thunder rumbled in the distance as I ran across the field. The clouds rolled over head as I ran faster. I always loved to race the rain. The thunder was like our gunshot letting me know the race had begun; the long grass brushed against my legs as I barreled past. My calloused feet pounding on the dry I earth. I could hear the rain coming fast from behind me, a loud, overwhelming whooshing sound, that seemed to come from everywhere and meant no escape. l saw my small home in the distance and laughed to myself.
“The rain always won,” I thought as it finally caught up to me, instantly drenching me. Slipping in the fresh mud I fell onto the ground and laughed again.
The ice world was the last place I wanted to go, but I had no choice…