To have storytelling map can help aspiring writers to maintain focus, and the result can be a work which is much more likely to be seen as material suitable for publication. Read on to find out more about creating a really useful storytelling map, or storyboard.

In 2012, well-known author James Patterson made $94 million. However, he’s only one of 145,900 writers and authors counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and for the rest of us, it might not come so easy. The odds of success in writing are marginal. Take Stephen King for example. His first novel, Carrie was rejected 30 times. However, don’t let this get you down. Your odds of becoming published can drastically increase if you have a hard-hitting, well-written story. After all, writing is all about telling a story. So, check out these tips to help you map out the best tale.

Write Your Story in One Sentence

Just like we all have the one-minute elevator pitch we like to prepare for interviews, you should start preparing for your story by writing your one sentence, high-level synopsis. Write down exactly what your story will tell in a concise manner. This will help you explain the story to other people and will essentially become your pitch when you seek to become published. Stick this one sentence summary on an index card and place it at the top of your map.

Image to illustrate the storytelling map concept.
Photo by Kate Ilina on Unsplash

Create Your Characters and Universe

For some people, the character is the first thing they develop. However, for others, it is the universe. So, it is up to you on which you want to create first. When you develop the universe, you will label it on an index card. Then, attach sticky notes underneath your index card that speaks to the rules and regulations of your universe. What are the laws that will apply? What are some of the issues that citizens face in that universe? These will help you to further define the setting of your story.

You will do the same thing for your characters. Once you figure out the characters of your story, write their names down on a flash card. Then, place sticky notes underneath them. You will use these sticky notes to determine their character. One process that a lot of great writers suggest you do is the Elevator Game. Imagine your character is trapped in an elevator – what does he or she do? This will help you determine the qualities and characteristics associated with your persons of interest. You will also want to identify each character’s goals in the story, how they will get there, and what will change about their personality as a result of reaching this goal? Answering these questions will help you create a well-defined and engaging tale.

Write Out Your Scenes

Take a couple of index cards and map out some scenes for your story. Think about who will be involved in the scene, what happens in the scene, and why the scene is important for the overall story plot. Each of these answers should be written down on the flashcard to help you remember them as your story progresses. If you can’t answer the question about why the scene is important, then it might be a clever idea to simply discard the scene. You don’t need to over clutter your storyline. From here, you can start to order these scenes and develop your storyline.

After you’ve mapped everything out, you should tie everything together on your storyboard. This will help you determine where your story is going and keep you on task and coherent throughout the novel. As long as you’ve developed an engaging tale that is well-written and engaging, you’ll be on your way to publication.

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