Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clustering, Collaging, and storyboarding! Oh My!

Last weekend, I attended Moonlight and Magnolias. For more details on what I did there, visit my post on the Columbia Writers Workshop blog.

The most exciting part of my weekend was the Friday night workshop on plotting. You see, I'm in the process of plotting my NaNo (Yea! I love NaNoWriMo!) and I haven't completed the process yet. At the workshop, we learned three different methods that could be used for plotting our novels.

  1. Collaging - Collaging is easy and simple. Anyone with a stack of magazines, a pair of scissors, a bottle of Elmer's glue, and a piece of poster board can collage. I think this would be an excellent method to use when the idea well went dry. Basically, you look through the magazines and when you see something that interests you, you rip it out. Then when you're done mutilating the magazines, you create your collage. You put the pictures, the words, or whatever you're using (you can use three dimensional or other items not found in magazines as well) on the board in a way that makes sense to you. You use it to write your story.
  2. Clustering - Clustering uses even fewer materials than collaging. A large size piece of paper and a pen is all that you need to start clustering. You take your idea and you circle it in the middle of your page. From there, you web out, writing down whatever comes to your mind. NO EDITING!!! Just let your mind go and don't pick up the pen from the page. If you get stuck, keep making a circle around your words. The idea is that if your hand is still moving, your mind is still thinking. Eventually, you'll start thinking in a pattern and will be able to group like ideas together. I LOVE this method. I've been working on my current project using it since I got home from the conference. My book is being mapped out on a very large piece of butcher block paper. I have always used clustering (I called it spiderwebbing) when I created my characters. I never thought thought to use it when plotting. I've gotten so much done in less than a week. It is amazing.
  3. Storyboarding- Storyboarding is what filmmakers use when they're making a movie. They draw out key scenes (maybe even all the scenes) and then write a short blurb about what is happening underneath the scenes. I think this would be a method you would want to use when you're almost done plotting. It is a great visual for a writer to have. The writer can look at the picture and see if they've written the scene or not. I was intrigued by this method.
I loved this workshop and got so much out of it! I loved all of the workshops at the conference. I plan on using all of them when I'm writing and then editing my NaNo.

Here are a few pictures from the Moonlight and Magnolias conference

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