The ‘W’ storyboarding technique is something I came across this week described in a YouTube video by Mary Carroll Moore. Ah the internet…such an unrivaled source of learning..
I’d been vaguely aware of the concept of structuring your novel in 3 acts, but I found this a particularly clear and helpful explanation. Simply put, you think of your novel plot as a ‘W’. The story starts at the top left point, with some kind of external trigger. From here the story goes downhill – meaning things get worse for your characters, conflict deepens.
The bottom of the first leg (arm?) of the W is the first turning (or low) point. From there we climb back up to the middle of the W, with the characters recovering from whatever problems they had encountered. At the top middle point of the W we have another trigger event and, I quote, ‘the story explodes’.
You see where this is going now. Following that trigger the problems deepen, down to the second turning point, the absolute worst point of the novel for your characters. After that we rise again to the resolution and end of the story. Watch the video – Mary explains it better than I do 🙂
I did a little exercise to see if I could fit the plot of City of Djinn into this structure and I was happy (and relieved) to see it fits fairly well. There’s a bit of tweaking I can do to make the plot stronger using this model and I’m pretty convinced this technique should work very well with this novel.