For my new novel "With A Good Eye" storyboards were particularly helpful in creating my character Luna Levi and her best friend Aiden Betel.
by Gila Green
Characters are the heart and soul of any compelling story. They drive the narrative, engage readers, and make the fictional world come alive. To create well-rounded, relatable characters, writers often use various tools and techniques. While storyboards are typically associated with visual storytelling, such as filmmaking and comics, they can also be a powerful tool for writers in character development. In this article, I explore how to use storyboards to build your characters and breathe life into your narratives. Now that I have written several novels, I need storyboards more than ever because I do not want my heroines to all sound, dress and speak alike. For my new novel "With A Good Eye" storyboards were particularly helpful in creating my character Luna Levi and her best friend Aiden Betel.
Understanding the Basics
Before we delve into the world of character storyboards, let's clarify what a storyboard is and how it is traditionally used. A storyboard is a visual tool that outlines a story's key scenes or sequences, often used in filmmaking to plan shots, sequences, and transitions. Each board typically consists of a series of panels or frames that depict the visual elements and action in a story.
For writers, the idea of using storyboards may seem unusual, given that writing is primarily a textual medium. However, by adapting the concept of storyboarding, writers can gain valuable insights into their characters, their development, and the overall flow of their narrative.
Setting Up Your Character Storyboard
To get started with character storyboarding, you'll need some basic materials. These include a large poster board or a digital equivalent, such as a virtual board in a writing software, sticky notes, index cards, or digital tools like Trello or Scrivener.
Character Elements to Consider
When developing characters, there are several key elements to consider, and your character storyboard should address each of these aspects:
Filling in the Storyboard
Now that your character storyboard is set up and you understand the essential character elements, it's time to start filling it in. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use the storyboard to flesh out your characters:
Storyboards can also help you visualize the relationships and interactions between your characters. Consider creating separate character boards for each of your main characters and then arranging them on a larger board to show how they connect. This can be especially helpful in ensemble casts or stories with intricate character dynamics.
Understanding how characters relate to one another can lead to richer, more authentic interactions and conflicts within your narrative.
Evolving Your Characters
Characters, like real people, should evolve throughout the story. Your character storyboard can be a dynamic tool that grows and changes as your characters do. Periodically revisit your character boards to update them with new information, character growth, and plot developments.
As your characters evolve, you can add notes or make changes on your storyboard to reflect these changes. This process will help you maintain consistency in your characters' development and ensure that their actions and motivations remain true to their evolving personalities.
Character development is a fundamental aspect of storytelling, and using storyboards can be a valuable tool for writers seeking to create compelling and well-rounded characters. Whether you choose a physical storyboard with sticky notes or a digital one with specialized software, the key is to systematically explore your characters' physical traits, personality, backstory, goals, and conflicts.
By visually mapping out your characters' journeys, relationships, and growth, you'll not only gain a deeper understanding of your characters but also enhance the authenticity and engagement of your narrative.
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