No Guts, No Story…Board

No Guts, No Storyboard. Hierarchies, Storyboards, Flowcharts, Mindmaps, and Wireframes for Authors

Hierarchies, Storyboards, Flowcharts, Mindmaps, and Wireframes

Remember in school when our science teacher (with the permanent frown lines) attempted to persuade us that graphic organizers were important in our documentation? Perhaps my teacher quit that year due to having me as her student, as I was compelled to fill up the graphic organizers with more wording than she thought necessary, defeating the purpose.

Do you see in pictures or words?

In our minds, some of us see in pictures, while others of us visualize in words. Sometimes creating in our mind incorporates our other senses.  I struggle with spatial relations and being able to picture the finished project. My best friend is the opposite. He can parallel park in the snuggest of places and he creates beautiful landscape paintings. On the other hand, turn me loose in the kitchen and I’m smelling and tasting everything, as I add a pinch of this and a splash of that until out of the oven pops the best food you will ever taste. My point is, don’t eliminate any method until you discover how you were created to function best. God gave you your senses to help guide you.

When using a storyboard, many of us think of the making of major motion pictures. If we don’t work at Disney or Pixar, we can see no purpose.

Planning vs. Chance

Yet, there may be a purpose for you and me. It’s called planning. Rarely do great accomplishments happen by chance. Next year your book or website are not going to magically appear out of nothing. If you aren’t actively working on your goal today, don’t expect it to manifest in a year from now from positive thinking. Tomorrow is always one day too far away to start reaching for your goal.

As time went on, I came to understand how graphic organizers help me plan out projects. If you have not been using them, I want to encourage you to try some of the free software online, use a whiteboard/chalkboard, or pull out a blank piece of paper. Depending on your goal, you will choose which option works best for you. At Authors Community we have a huge advocate for using graphic organizer software in our book marketing expert, Tom Blubaugh.

If the first time you try it you end up frustrated, don’t give up. It’s finding which method clicks with you. Here are just some of the various Graphic Organizers available to you.

Graphic Organizers - Which One to Use - Definitions

Such as…if I am building a website. I use a piece of blank paper or a whiteboard and layout an idea of the navigation hierarchy first. If I don’t, the corrections in the midst take more time than the planning, wasting the money of my client. The “wireframe” I use for visual placement on a web page. It can be used from more than websites. An author can use a wireframe to help them layout certain pages in their book, as well as the cover.

I’m in the midst of writing my nonfiction book. There were times when I was lost. Nothing was getting accomplished because I spent too much time figuring out what I wanted to write about in this next chapter. By the time I’d have an idea, I needed to make dinner. Next time I came back to it, I forgot my idea and we were back to square one.

I should know better from my planning of goals and websites. Why do I think writing a book is different? Now I’m treating my book like I do other goals. I’m planning it out. Not only employing SMART goals, likewise, I’m using a graphic organizer.

Unlike other artist types, I see in words. I cannot draw a stickman to save my life. If you saw the website hierarchies I draw, you might think I let my tiny granddaughter draw the containers for me. It doesn’t matter. My graphic organizers are not for others. The purpose is to help me.

However, if my graphics are a presentation for others, then I use software to make them look well-ordered and engaging. Sometimes after I complete my rough sketch, I still use software to clean it up so it’s neat when I refer to it.

Why a Storyboard for Authors?

When plotting out my book, I use a photo of an old book with blank pages. Why an old book? In my case, it gives me a feeling of nostalgia which is fitting with my writing goals.  For each new chapter, I insert a copy of the book’s blank page and write the title and brief summary. Yes, I struggle with the “brief” summary, but the purpose is just to jog my memory, not to write the chapter in that moment.

If you tend to change your mind a lot, then I take a blank piece of paper and lay out my book graphics on it. I stick them with reusable putty so I can move them around if need be. This meshes with the tactile side of me. My strongest sense is “touch” and I chose to integrate it whenever I can.

Of course, using software it’s much easier to make edits and then print out new version, shred the old. On the other hand, you can always keep your old drafts to share if you ever become immensely famous! People will pay to see your work in the formative stages.

For the sake of making myself clear, I will post a storyboard example using my favorite literature, Pride and Prejudice.

Author Storyboard Example - Pride and Prejudice

Be sure to check out some of these free graphic organizers and storyboard makers online or contact me at if you need something different and perhaps I can be of assistance to you.

Julianne Rigali - Author, Website Designer, Social Media ManagerJuliannne Rigali is a web designer, social media graphic artist, and is skilled with WordPress and Divi. She is the Administrative, Communications, and Technology Manager for a top Law Enforcement Training company and the Owner of Bratiful Creative Solutions. Her volunteer work includes children with autism and family/sexual violence survivors. Her passions include family, cooking, and holidays!

Please visit Julianne’s Authors Community vendor page for Website Design, Social Media Management, Graphic Design, and Content Writing.

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6 thoughts on “No Guts, No Story…Board”

  1. Thanks Julianne for a very interesting article.

    I am using a Mind Map (with Tom) for the writing and future marketing of a fantasy novel, The Seventh Tree.

  2. Hi Margaret,

    Thank you so much for your kind words.

    I would love to tell about my non-fiction book, but you are correct, it is too soon. I plan to launch it with everything in place…the website, marketing, etc. Hoping it achieves my goals for others…and that will be a huge reward for me. 🙂

    Thank you,

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