The Storyboard Renaissance: Whole Manuscript Showcase—Preparing Your Storyboard, Part 4, by Kristen C. Strocchia

cat display

Hopefully, storyboarding along with this blog series has led to some helpful revising. I know it has for me. However, in the process, my original one-sticky-note-per-plot-beat has multiplied with extended information and/or notes to myself. And the setting backdrop picture for each scene plus a photo of all the characters in each takes a lot of space, which is visually overwhelming. So, here is where we revise the working Storyboard into more of a visual synopsis for the Storyboard Renaissance event display.

When deciding what to keep and what to cut, remember that less is more.

It might be helpful to use the Storyboard to help write your one-page synopsis, which will be critiqued at the event, and then to use the synopsis, in turn, to help streamline your Storyboard. (For help writing a synopsis, visit

A thumbnail sketch or digital mock-up can also be very helpful to create an overall visually appealing display.


Digital mock-up

If you are unfamiliar with visual composition rules—that is, the basic visual layouts that are most pleasing to the eye—you may want to check out a photography site like for some helpful pointers. Note that you only need to focus on one or two of the rules to make a more impactful presentation, so choose which ones work best for the story you want to tell.

When you have decided on how you want the overall layout to appear, remember that you have options as to how to incorporate your visuals. Besides taping/pasting each element, try drawing directly onto the board. Try laying out the story scenes vertically and horizontally to see which looks better on the space. Do leave negative space, or white space, and take advantage of the natural lead lines created by the plot diagram and the rule of thirds naturally formatted in the three-act board structure.


Some elements can be drawn directly onto the board.


You can create digital story beats and print them out.


Try different layouts. This layout uses story beats showing character, plot, and setting in skinny vertical strips.


This layout shows small story beats of plot and character overlaying photos of setting.


Close-up details.


Another option is to show fewer story beats with larger images on a larger setting (remember, less is more).

As to the individual story scenes themselves, less is also more here. Your faculty member will already have read your written synopsis, so the Storyboard should portray things like pacing, character development, emotion, and repetition of important elements within the story without additional words. However, too many characters or important elements will quickly overwhelm the viewer, so choose the main character, and perhaps the most important secondary character, and track only the few objects that are absolutely essential to the overall story. Feel free to include a brief visual character profile with a logline to help set up the character and story stakes as well. (For logline writing help, see

Remember, use this to serve your revision process. After writing the synopsis and drafting your Storyboard, continue to ask yourself questions that lead you to a stronger story. Be inspired and have fun with it! And don’t forget to register for the Storyboard Renaissance event in September for the opportunity to showcase your Storyboard and receive feedback from peers and one of our amazing faculty members. Hope to see you there!

Registration is now open for the Storyboard Renaissance event. Click here for all the information and to register.

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.


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1 Response to The Storyboard Renaissance: Whole Manuscript Showcase—Preparing Your Storyboard, Part 4, by Kristen C. Strocchia

  1. Pingback: The Storyboard Renaissance: A Graphic Novel Approach to Storyboarding, by Kristen C. Strocchia | EasternPennPoints

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