The Storyboard Renaissance: Whole Manuscript Showcase—Preparing Your Storyboard, Part 1, by Kristen C. Strocchia

cat display

Whether you’re considering joining us at the Marriott Courtyard in Montage in September for our Storyboard Renaissance event, or just needing a new perspective on your manuscript, use this summer to start Storyboarding. A Storyboard is simply a visual representation of your manuscript.

First things first, grab a trifold board from the local office supply or hobby store. Color is up to your artistic discretion (consider if you want to be able to write directly on the board or if you will adhere all of your components). Then, gather your supplies:

  • pencil, pens, markers
  • ruler or yardstick
  • tape or glue stick
  • sticky notes or colored papers
  • pictures of setting and/or characters*
  • manuscript sections*

*Note: We will discuss how to incorporate these in more depth in a later post, so you may want to just start a picture file for now.


Once you have the basic supplies, go ahead and draw a blank plot diagram on the trifold board. Start in pencil if you prefer, but then darken with a pen or marker. Be sure to save room for adding pictures and text later on.


The trifold is already naturally formatted to a three-act plot structure, or you can subdivide the large center section into a second and third act if you are using a four-act structure. It is not necessary to darken these guidelines, but it may be helpful to have them penciled in.

Jot down your basic plot outline on sticky notes—a single sentence each for

  • exposition
  • inciting action
  • each of the scenes/beats in the rising action, climax, and denouement

Arrange these on the board. You may find it helpful to include page numbers on these notes and visually space them to show how much of the manuscript it takes for each.


In the coming days as you wait for the next Storyboard Prep blog post, consider your outline and its spacing (essentially pacing). Ask yourself some questions:

  1. Are all of the events interesting?
  2. Are any of them cliché or too predictable?
  3. Is each one the best possible choice for telling this story?
  4. Do each of the events show who the main character is?
  5. Are they believable?
  6. Are all of the events logical reactions to the previous event action?

Rearrange or rework this outline on the Storyboard as needed. Remember, the purpose of this exercise and this workshop is to serve your story. Be inspired and have fun with it!

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