Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Best Laid ... Turkey?

Maven Lacey KayeHappy Thanksgiving, my American friends!

For the rest of you, Happy Thursday. (Thursdays by themselves are pretty good, eh? 1 day closer to Friday! w00t)

So yesterday in the comments I hinted at a storyboard perk. Yes, besides it being fabulously fun and a great road map of your story, there's a great non-linear benefit: Storyboards aren't synopses.

Right? I mean, a synopsis has to make sense. It needs to flow. You can't skip B from A to C because the reader won't infer the path between. But with a storyboard, you can do whatever you want. You're the only audience. If you're not quite sure yet how the hero will accomplish tasks a, b, c, and d, who cares? You can figure it out when you get there.

Let me explain with an example. According to my storyboard, in Scene 3:

  • Roman doesn't want to be bought

  • Can't remember the baron

  • Buying drinks/being treated to drinks

  • Decides to approach Jonathan and ask for an investment opportunity

  • Walks to his club

  • Knows he's in a bind financially

  • Feeling vulnerable

  • Takes Biddle's bait re: wits game

At first glance, that's a lot of stuff going on for one scene. You would NOT want to try to go line by line like that in a synopsis, and if you did, you'd be locked into your solution pretty tightly. But with a storyboard, you get two perks. One is that if you don't make it to one of those points, chances are you can stick the note into another scene box downline. Two, you have complete freedom as to which elements come first, which come second, how they show up, how you maneuver your character into any of them, etc.

I realized this when I was trying to think of a setting & action for my scene. Sure, part of it has to take place at the club because that's where the betting book is. But there are other points to this scene. Like, how does Roman approach Jonathan? When? Does he summon Jonathan to his house (one idea I toyed with)? If he did, Jonathan would be pretty ticked off. On the other hand, Jonathan could be at the club. But I happen to know Jonathan doesn't go to White's. Hmm. Does Roman walk to Jonathan's house? Now that seems pretty likely.

Okay, so how does the scene start? With Roman walking to the club (or Jonathan's house)? At Roman's house? At the club with a simple mention that he walked there, not rode? Do we start with the wits wager or Roman's search for employment? Is Roman in a good mood when he's discouraged, or is he a jerk about having to lower himself to admit defeat?

My point is, as long as I incorporate the elements needed to move into the next square on my storyboard, I can do it however I want to. Plotters and Pantsters unite!

Like Celeste did yesterday, tell me about a scene you waffled on, why, and how it turned out differently than you'd first imagined. And have some turkey for me! I'll be taking a nap.


Darcy Burke said...

I love having the elements on the storyboard as a reminder. It's so easy to just move something to another scene if, when you write it, it just doesn't go.

Having just read the scene you mentioned here, I must say it turned out brilliantly, of course!

Happy Turkey Day!!

Erica Ridley said...

I concur on both counts! Story boards rock my world, as does RTR Scene 3. =)

Happy Tofurky Day!

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens