CARTOONS, HORIZONS & OTHER OUTLINES

As part of my family’s spring break, I spent the past few days revising an outline. This novel is already in progress but I’ve been making changes to some of the plot elements and I wanted to “picture” the whole again. I worked up a six-page prose outline. Sure enough, it gave me a new perspective. Still, I wanted an instant picture. My first idea was to use a “horizon” outline. It’s something I do often and it’s simple. I draw a line across a long sheet of paper. I divide the line into thirds to represent the three acts of the narrative. Then I divide again, marking scenes and dramatic beats. But this time I wanted to try something even more visual so I made up my own cartoon storyboard. Honest. In two-dozen colors! I blocked off chapters and then I blocked scenes within chapters and I drew in the characters in a way that represented the central emotional beats. It reads like a primitive comic book. I even included thought and speech bubbles with a line or two of dialogue. I love the new perspective and creative burst it lends me. 

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