No storyboard would be complete without attention to when and where the story takes place. Setting is often the silent culprit behind inconsistencies, flawed logic, and even character development troubles. It can heighten emotion or cause it to fall flat. It can increase tension as much as any secondary character and sometimes more. So, as you work through this setting pass, pay attention to character as well.
As with character, you may want to begin by compiling a picture file or a collage. Scale the setting images to fit your space and then print several copies to lay on the Storyboard as needed. If your manuscript has just a few locations, or if large portions of the plot happen in one particular place, then you may have room to print a larger setting photo and overlay the plot and character elements. If your setting includes unique vehicles or moves across several locations, use smaller printouts. It may also be helpful to include the emotion created by the setting choices (if any) with an emoticon.
Remember, use this to serve your revision process. After adding setting to the plot beats and character development overlay, ask yourself some questions:
- Does the scene work with the time of day (i.e., lighting, surrounding human/animal activity, etc), weather, and terrain?
- Are there any neglected setting elements that make this scene unbelievable/impossible?
- Does the setting add mood or tension to the scene?
- Does this mood or tension conflict with what is happening with the plot or the character emotion in each scene?
- Do the timeline and weather happenings flow naturally throughout, or do they feel choppy? Contrived?
- Is this the best possible time and place for this story?
- In each scene, how should the setting affect my character?
- Is the character reaction in each scene appropriate to the date, time, weather, terrain, etc?
If the Storyboard process prompts revisions, go for it! Then, rearrange or rework the setting backdrop, character development overlay, and plot outline as needed.
Be inspired and have fun thinking about how you will visually integrate each of these elements into your completed Storyboard. We will discuss the final draft in the next Storyboard post.
Registration will soon be open for the Storyboard Renaissance event. Click here for details.
Don’t miss the previous posts in this series for step-by-step help with your Storyboard. Even if you can’t make the event, Storyboarding can be a helpful tool for visualizing your manuscript as a whole.
- The Storyboard Renaissance: Whole Manuscript Showcase (Introduction)
- Preparing Your Storyboard, Part 1
- Preparing Your Storyboard, Part 2