By Debby Giusti
Happy New Year, Seekerville!
My January posts usually focus on motivation and goal setting for the year ahead, but a different topic started pestering me a few weeks ago. Like a character demanding attention in one of my books, the idea wouldn’t let up. Finally, I gave in, which is the reason today’s post features a seemingly insignificant item in my toolbox—a whiteboard.
I purchased my whiteboard to use during a workshop I presented at Georgia Romance Writers’ Moonlight & Magnolias Conference in 2015. During the session, I led the roomful of attendees through an interactive brainstorming session. Working together, we fleshed out a hero and heroine’s GMC and backstory as well as important plot points—the inciting incident, escalating conflict, black moment, climax and resolution. Finally, we discussed how to weave the elements together seamlessly to keep the readers turning the page. By the end of the hour, we had an overview of a story outlined on my whiteboard that could easily be transferred into a written synopsis format and eventually expanded into book form.
The Dreaded Synopsis
Ask any writer about the most difficult part of the submission process, and I dare say most folks will admit their greatest challenge is creating the dreaded synopsis. The task can seem so daunting that writers sometimes complete their manuscripts before they write their synopses.
For me, the synopsis plays an important role in my story creation. Written prior to the manuscript, it helps me ensure all the elements of my WIP are in place and flow together to create a satisfying read.
The Whiteboard Technique to Build a Story
A few years ago, I was mulling over a new story and stymied as to how the plot would unfold. On a whim, I grabbed the whiteboard I had used at the M&M Conference. Although working alone, I plowed through the brainstorming process just as I had done in the GRW session and jotted down my ideas on the whiteboard. Within a few hours, I had formatted my story.
Whether published or unpublished, we all rely on various tools to facilitate our writing. Using a whiteboard helps me develop my story and home in on the significant aspects of the plot and characters.
I’m a visual learner, which might be the reason the whiteboard triggers my creative process. Changes can be made with a whisk of a dry eraser as I switch names or rearrange escalating danger and attacks against my hero and heroine. The use of different colored dry-markers for my protagonist and love interest provides a distinctive way to ensure each character has his or her own story arc and a satisfying resolution to any internal or external conflict. Noting the various plot points in one contained space allows me to view the entire story at a glance so I can quickly identify holes in my story.
From Whiteboard to Manuscript
Once the story is outlined, I refer to the whiteboard while I write the synopsis and often keep it close at hand as I pen the story. If a problem develops, I check my whiteboard—my storyboard—to ensure I’m on the right path. Furthermore, I can add or delete items as the plot shifts or deepens. The finished manuscript may vary somewhat from that initial whiteboard overview, but throughout the process, the outline provides a guide to keep me on track.
If you have trouble brainstorming a story or writing a synopsis, try my whiteboard technique. Perhaps, like me, you'll find the whiteboard is a valuable addition to your writing toolbox.
What tools help you create your stories? Can you suggest other uses for a whiteboard that facilitate your writing process? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a copy of HER FORGOTTEN AMISH PAST.
Wishing you abundant blessings,
HER FORGOTTEN AMISH PAST
She can’t remember who she’s running from.
Is she safe with the Amish?
Someone wants Becca Troyer dead, but who or why is a mystery to her. Seeking refuge at the home of Amish farmer Zeke Hochstetler is her only hope to stay one step ahead of the killer. With every clue she finds about her past leading to more confusion, Becca and Zeke must untangle the truth before her pursuer discovers where she’s been hiding.
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