Fiction Writing Plot Development Storyboards

While taking a workshop with author Janice MacDonald on developing a traditional fiction story plot (the kind with a beginning, middle and end), I decided to modify one of the templates that came with my Pages program into a set of worksheets. These worksheets can help you outline your fiction plot and determine the story structure.

Check out More Tips & Tools from Creative Writing classes!

Check out More Tips & Tools from Creative Writing classes!

The first two are blank worksheets. You can copy them, fill them in, cut them up, move things around. Use them as you wish. There’s a place at the top for the name of novel or chapter and for defining the genre and the characters involve or whatever works for you.

You may want to read some of the other posts on various ways to approach plot and motivation. You can then work with the blank storyboards in developing the internal and external events.

DOWNLOAD the Novel Storyboard Worksheet PDF

DOWNLOAD the Chapter Storyboard Worksheet PDF

The third worksheet is my own creation from the various things I’ve learned about the traditional story structure. I want to give a big thanks to Janice MacDonald who clarified a great deal of the standard novel structure with her own plot grid. It’s the basis for my small variations.

DOWNLOAD the Traditional Fiction Writing Plot Development Storyboard PDF

While the storyboard is designed for the typical 20-chapter genre novel, simply expand the number of chapters between the Plot Points and the Crisis to meet your needs. The last page of the storyboard contains with a basic summary of a traditional novel plot structure as well as 10 Question For Developing Your Plot which help you determine the internal motivation and well as the strongest conflicts confronting your primary character or protagonists. (Actually, if you can answer these questions for your secondary characters, you have an even stronger plot.)

For more details about using the Traditional Fiction Writing Plot Development Storyboard check out
Traditional Fiction Writing Story Arc.
in the category Writing How-To, Fiction Writing.

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16 thoughts on “Fiction Writing Plot Development Storyboards

  1. Pingback: Storyboarding vs. Writing Blind « Writing the Wrong

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  3. Danelo Canete

    I, too am writing with i-page. How did you change the templates to fit as a storyboard?

    1. admin

      Hey, Danelo, thanks for dropping by to talk about writing. As for creating the Fiction Writing Plot Development Storyboard, I started with the Apple’s iWorks Pages Storyboard template. It’s located under the Wordprocessing Miscellaneous templates. Then I modified where it says “Shot 1”, “Shot 2” etc. to the Chapters and the traditional focus of each chapter. I had to add 3 more storyboard pages by clicking on the Sections+ icon at the top of the page and selecting the 6-up storyboard section. On the last page of the template, I deleted the bottom row of storyboard boxes plus the last one on Row 1 and added my own text boxes. Then I saved it all as a new template under My Templates.

      Glad you liked it and find it useful. I working on some more material for the site which will be going up soon. I developing a bunch of stuff for an online class I’m offering through a Colorado writer’s group. I’ll have more posted soon.

      Good luck with the writing and fly casual.

  4. Courtney-Lynn

    Hi there, i find your worksheets so help fun. I just found your website a few days ago. I was wondering if i could post your worksheets on my blog with a link to your site.
    Thank you for your blog

    1. admin


      Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you found the storyboard useful. While I’d prefer you simply include a link to my site to download the storyboards, if you really want to post them on your blog under a Creative Commons license and give me attribution, go ahead.

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  7. Michael Dorn

    Best plotting advice I’ve ever gotten was from Adron J. Smitley:

    Chapter One: Introduction
    Chapter Two: Catalyst
    Chapter Three: Effect/Reaction
    Chapter Four: Leaving Home
    Chapter Five: New World Stumble
    Chapter Six: Fun & Games
    Chapter Seven: Old World Contrast
    Chapter Eight: Midpoint/Reversal
    Chapter Nine: Reaction/Action
    Chapter Ten: Villain Attacks
    Chapter Eleven: All Is Lost
    Chapter Twelve: Dark Debate
    Chapter Thirteen: Rally the Troops
    Chapter Fourteen: Battle
    Chapter Fifteen: Climax
    Chapter Sixteen: Resolution

    ^THIS^ is simply the BEST plotting advice I’ve ever gotten, and it’s helped me tremendously with my writing. You start with the above, making each ‘chapter’ at least 2,500 words in length, then you expand the Five MAIN plot points (catalyst-fun & games/midpoint/reversal-all is lost-climax) into double that because they are your benchmark scenes and WILL be needed much longer than the rest, THEN you divide those five ‘chapters’ into two a piece giving you 21 total chapters (maybe even a few more depending on YOUR particular story) and BAM!!! when you’re done you have an entirely finished novel that makes sense plot-wise.

    I’m not going to go into detail about the actual plot points. If you don’t know them (you should know most of them already) then take a few minutes to read up on them (or just google the creator of the template, Adron J. Smitley. All of its free on the ‘net if you take time to look for it) This ‘template’ guarantees results and guarantees you won’t be REwriting half your novel over twenty times because you ‘let the characters write the story for you’ and the actual story got away from you.

    Hell, just give it a try. What’s a few weeks of your time if you can get a finished novel out from it? Because of this template I’m now writing 2-3 novels per year with great success =-)

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  9. Chris Sharwin

    Good article. Also, figured i’d mention this after reading the comments as someone mention someone who wrote a book i happened to read on writing as well. “Punching Babies: a how-to guide” (cheap on Amazon) is an AMAZING book for writers that will increase your productivity like magic. I know, because it did mine. I went form about a year or so per novel to two per year, and it’s all because of Punching Babies (don’t let the name fool you, lol, you’ll be glad you didn’t).

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  11. 33Dell

    I must say it was hard to find your website in search results.
    You write great content but you should rank your website higher
    in search engines. If you don’t know how to do it search on youtube: how to rank a website
    Marcel’s way

    1. carolyn

      Thanks for the comment. I confess I don’t make much effort to promote the site, which is why it doesn’t rank better. Most notably, I rarely do updates except as we approach NaNoWriMo. I plan to do a bit better starting this fall (oh, wait. That’s the run-up to NaNoWriMo, isn’t it? Oh, well….) 😉


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