Storyboarding with the W Method

by @AnnieDaylon

sTORYBOARDING

Curious about how authors create their novels?

Some write freely, discovering the story as they go along. I do that, to a point. Then, with basic plot, key characters, and some scenes in mind, I create an outline.

I have experimented with different ways of outlining, including the use of note cards, step sheets, the Snowflake Method, and software, all of which are detailed by Robbie Blair in Eight Ways to Outline a Novel.  

The method that works best for me is the Storyboard. It is the most tangible, visual, and accessible way of plotting a story. Sometimes I have used a linear model, simply placing chronological plot points on a straight line.

In my Work-In-Progress, a three-act thriller set in Vancouver, BC, the story takes place over ten days. The details are tight. I want certain characters in a certain place at a certain time and I have to keep track of their every move. Enter: the W Storyboard.

Storyboarding by Mary Carroll Moore

Storyboarding by Mary Carroll Moore

My W Storyboard is based on Mary Carroll Moore’s model which lends itself well to the three-act structure common in the thriller.

The first line of the W—top to bottom—gives the story setup.

The first low mark represents the first portal or turning point. Once a character crosses that threshold, she must continue the journey. There’s no turning back. Either she can’t get back or there is nothing to go back to. (To quote fellow writer Brian Rodda, “The village is burned, the villagers are dead.”) 

Each successive point on the W, as shown in Mary Carroll Moore’s Youtube video, is another portal, another change in direction.

Because I usually know the turning points when I start my storyboard, it’s easy to fill in the portals on the W. After that, I have to get the characters to those portals and that means creating step-by-step details.

Using colorful sticky notes, I write plot points and place them along the lines of the W.  Wonderful things, those sticky notes: I frequently make changes and the notes can be pulled off and popped on easily. (Word of warning: if you plan to use sticky notes, buy the good ones; the cheaper versions tend to lose their stickiness and flit around like butterflies.)

My current storyboard has more than just plot. It includes:

  • Dates of Events, displayed on contrasting  sticky notes;

  • Images of actors who represent the visual type I’m trying to portray;

  • Character descriptions, detailing height, weight, hair, skin tone, eye color. (These are mere reference points which help avoid simple mistakes, such as a page 27 green-eyed character becoming brown-eyed on page 215.) 

  • Settings, sometimes written, sometimes images. (One setting in my thriller is a city loft, so I printed out a floor plan that suits my needs and pasted it on the board.)

Mary Carroll Moore states that her W formula is based on a book The Writer’s Time by Kenneth Atchity. The revised version, one which I am about to download, is on Kindle. The new title? Write Time: Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision-and Beyond

If you are an outliner, do you have any outlining tips? 

If you are a pantser, what are your thoughts about outlining?eNovel-Round-Logo

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

 

 

Canadian Author? Save a Few Bucks!

by @AnnieDaylon 

shutterstock_110397353Are you a busy Canadian author looking to save a few dollars? Read on…

Recently, I came across a post about additional sources of income for Canadian Authors.*** It occurred to me that, with the loonie at a thirteen year low, Canadian authors might be not only seeking more revenue but also searching for ways to keep that revenue in their pockets. Here’s one possibility:

My husband, who teaches business strategies at BCIT, informed me that Canada Post has a Solutions for Small Business Program. Upon consulting the Google gods, I discovered that this program was free to join. Without knowing exactly how it could benefit me, I signed up and printed out my paper membership ID card.

The next day I set off for the post office to mail books (ten picture books and five novels) to winners of my two Goodreads Giveaways. I pulled my paper Solutions for Small Business ID from my wallet and asked if it would be of benefit.  Much to my delight, the clerk nodded and smiled.

How did the membership help? On the picture books, it did not help at all: they fit snugly into 8 X 10 manila envelopes and slid easily through the two centimetre wide mail slot. However, my ‘fat’ novels did not fit through that mail slot and had to be shipped as parcels. On those, I saved between two and three dollars… per book!

As promised, Canada Post delivered my ‘real’ card a few weeks later. I was surprised to discover that they sent me not just one copy, but five. I assume the reason behind that is that most small businesses have a few employees. (I’m sure I will use all five cards once I rocket to the top of Amazon lists and hire myself some staff. 🙂 )

I don’t know what other gems the Solutions for Small Business Program has in store for me, but it will be fun learning. Right now, I know that this program saves money on the cost of shipping.

A dollar saved is a dollar earned!

*** Additional $ources of Revenue for Canadian Authors  via  Indies Unlimited  written by Martin Crosbie, author of the amazing ” How I Sold 30 000 E-books on Amazon’s Kindle.”

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to youeNovel-Round-Logo

Annie Signature Light Blue

Pick of the Twitter: August, 2015

Pick of the Twitter 005

Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Twitter picks for August, 2015:

  1. 7 Tips to Promote Your Book for FREE  via @111publishing

  2. An Updated Guide to the Marketing in the Big 6 Social Networks  via @socialmedia2day

  3. Book Launch Tips for Traditional and Self-Published Authors  @BookBaby

  4. Overwhelmed As An Author? How To Work With Virtual Assistants  @ChrisDucker via @thecreativepenn

  5. How Long Is A Novel? @MaeveMaddox

  6. How to Write Vivid Descriptions by @ChuckSambuchino via @JamesLeeSchmidt

  7. Protagonist and Main Character— Same Person? The Answer May Transform Your Story! @KMWeiland

  8.  “What Should a Novelist Blog About? Do’s and Don’ts for Author-Bloggers”  by @anneallen via @thecreativepenn

  9. How to Self-Publish Your Book on a Budget by @miralsattar

  10. Have you seen our FREE Author Marketing Checklist? Great guide for authors! @bkmkting

  11. Writing Your First Book: 5 Tasks to Focus on Besides Writing: @thewritelife

  12. Broken, Not Bitter. An Author’s Life with Repetitive Strain Injuries  @thecreativepenn

  1. It Only Gets Harder Once You’re Published  by Chuck Wendig

  2. 8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis:  @ceciliaedits via @elizabethscraig

  3. How to Find an Editor as a Self-Published Author via @janeFriedman

  4. Take Your Writing Outdoors: 9 Tips for Successfully Working Outside @thewritelife

  5. Making Bad Things Happen to Good Characters @aliventures

  6. Writing Your Book’s Back-Cover Copy  @JaneFriedman

  7. Basic Formatting of Your Manuscript (Formatting 101) by @JodieRennerEd

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

A FREE SHORT STORY is yours when you subscribe to my Author Newsletter: simply your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right. Rest assured that your email address will not be shared. 

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

From Manuscript to Market: A List of Essentials

by @AnnieDaylon

Manuscript to MarketFinished your manuscript?
Turned it over to your spectacularly brilliant copy-editor/designer wizard?
Breathing a sigh of relief, are you?
Well, suck that breath back in! It’s time to get your pre-publication kit together!

Hopefully, you’ve been filing info as you go: organization makes the final stages easier. Right now, I am in the middle of gathering pre-production information for my novel, OF SEA AND SEED, The Kerrigan Chronicles # 1.
 While I’m at it, I’m sharing it because most of what I need, you will too.

Here is my list:

  • Acknowledgements. It takes a village. Remember to thank every member.

  • Author Bio. Keep the bio short.

  • Author Headshot. Make it professional.

  • Bibliography. This is a maybe,  necessary for me, as my literary suspense series is set in historical Newfoundland.

  • Book Endorsements. You need a blurb or two or three for the cover of your book. So write a few authors and make a request. Ask and ye shall receive, or not. But ask anyway.(One of my favorite quotes comes from Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”)

  • Call to Action. In the back of your book, include some or all of the following: a link to your homepage and social media, a bonus offer if they sign to your mailing list, a chapter of your next book, a letter asking for review.

  • Cover Image. Use a stock image or hire an artist. (The image for my above cover mock-up comes from Shutterstock.) In your book, credit source of image.

  • Dedication. (for Mom? Dad? Dog? Place?)

  • Disclaimer. “A statement that is meant to prevent an incorrect understanding of something (such as a book, a movie, or an advertisement”~ Miriam-Webster Dictionary (This is standard in all fiction. For examples, just check the front pages of any novel.)

  • Epigraph. Short quote for front, if you plan to use one. Caution here: think Public Domain.

  • Flap Copy.  Brief synopsis for back cover, one that will draw reader in.

  • Key Words for SEO. Brainstorm. Check genre. 

  • List of other Publications. All other books written by you.

  • Map ? (Maybe you need a map inside the cover? I plan to use a map of Newfoundland as a frame of reference for readers.)

  • Pricing Strategy. Check others in your genre.

  • Questions for Reading Clubs. Compile a list and put it in the back.

Am I forgetting anything?  Please share any info you have!!

Free Short Story
A Free Short Story will be yours when you subscribe to my author newsletter by placing your first name and email address in the space provided on the right. Rest assured that your email address will be held in the highest confidence and will not be shared or distributed for any purpose.

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Self-Publishing a Story Collection? 6 Tips!

shutterstock_163750679 (2) story collection

by @AnnieDaylon

Are you about to publish a collection of your short stories? I have done that once and am considering a second. Here are six suggestions based on hindsight:

  1. Go for a ‘sense of book.’ Group stories around one theme, one character, one setting. My first collection is varied: most of its stories were written, not with the idea of a book in mind, but for contests based on prompts. It was long after their completion that I chose a theme.

  2. Give thought to the title.

    Take time to examine your collection. Perhaps, as book title, you might choose the title of one story or the name of a place that is common to all stories. After I read through my stories, I realized there was indeed a thread: the choices we make and the paths we take. Thus the title: Passages.

  3. Consider, as title/subtitle, “a collection of short fiction,” not “a collection of short stories.”

    I used stories in the subtitle of Passages and wished I had used fiction, especially after I dropped a narrative poem into the mix. (Yes, I know: could have eliminated the poem. Sigh.)

  4. Acknowledge previous publications.

    List the stories that have been previously published, and include publisher, publication, and date of same. In Passages, in acknowledgements, I thanked creators, administrators, and judges of writing contests, and named a couple of specifics. There was no ill intent in my lack of a list of previous publications; I was simply unaware of the courtesy.

  5. Share background of story.

    Many of the short stories in Passages were written for contests. In retrospect, I could have enhanced the reader experience by writing a paragraph or two before each short, revealing the prompt or inspiration for the story.

  6. Give thought to the placement of stories.

    You might consider placing your best story first and your second-best last. I went a different route: I put an award-winning short story first because I wanted to draw attention to the fact that it had grown into an award-winning novel. As for the last story in Passages, it is a very short piece called Final Passage, a piece that is more than appropriate for its position in the book. The only thing I would have done differently with it is listed above: I would have revealed the inspiration for the piece.

    shutterstock_163750679

    Why do I love story contests? Click on image to link to “Why Enter Story Contests.”

    Are these suggestions helpful to you? If  you have already published a book of short fiction, what were the steps that worked best for you? What, if anything,  would you do differently the next time?

     

    My best to you, Annie Signature Light Blue