Storyboarding the Dashboard

A student shares a great idea for those long car trips–storyboarding on the dashboard. She’s the passenger, of course, but uses sticky notes applied to the dashboard to plot her story. All while flying down Interstate 5 in the Pacific Northwest. I can’t read in a moving car, but storyboarding the dashboard might be one way I could stay productive on the road.
Writing Tip for Today: Storyboarding is a great exercise to help you quickly see what your novel is really about and how it gets from beginning to end.

  • You can use sticky notes on a dashboard or a wall (color coordinate notes for different types of scenes, characters and subplots), index cards (one student hangs his along an indoor clothesline), a white board or a fancy computer program.
  • The aim of this kind of work is to look for the plot points (pivotal or turning point scenes) and to spot pacing problems.
  • You can easily rearrange scenes (what would happen if this happened before/after that?), delete slow or static scenes that don’t pull their weight and identify gaps that need added scenes. Caution: don’t fall in love with storyboarding (on the dash or anyplace else) to the exclusion of actually writing your novel.

Try This! Get a package of different-colored stickies and work out a system. For each color, assign meanings such as character, action, narrative. Using these notes, plot out a section of your work-in-progress. Look for plot points and pacing.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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