Story boards are my cure for writer’s block. When I type out a story, the ideas flatten into my laptop screen, two dimensional and colorless. To fill them out again, I draw. Story boards help my imagination probe a scene’s possibilities.
I don’t think I ever incorporated the drawing above into my writing, but it has influenced the story as a whole. [And yes, I know that the girls at the top of the stairs don’t have hair. And yes, those are stairs. Just take my word for it.]
I think my words flatten and my imagination cramps because I’m too efficient—I move from point A to point B, from scene to scene, in a hurry to progress the story. I look ahead, measure obstacles, and estimate the most direct route. Efficiency is generally good, but when I’ve blasted through a scene without asking my characters what they would rather do, I need to slow down.
I need to dawdle as I write. If I take the time to draw on rich details and complex interactions, it will be much better, even if I have to cut some of it later. The details may even shape the plot later on. The best way for me to do this is to take a good fifteen minutes to draw the scene. It helps me relax and brainstorm—minus the storming, of course.