When Words Collide – Part VI – Story-boarding the Short Story

This session was put on by Nina Munteanu


I realized that I was learning more about writing for the first time in this session. I recognized that I knew the basics, but I picked up more of the detail. Before I was doing a “Paint By Numbers” painting, now I felt I understood most of the basics and could see the steps in becoming a real painter.

What is story-boarding?  From our friends at Wiki


Storyboards are now becoming more popular with novelists. Because most novelists write their stories by scenes rather than chapters, storyboards are useful for plotting the story in a sequence of events and rearranging the scenes accordingly..

Nina provided a tremendous amount of information in a very short period of time. Clearly she needed a 2 hour block of time. For some people who have been writing for while it may have seemed to be repetitious. However for the new writer, or an author who wanted to go over the basics and key concepts this was the session for you.

My problem was that I did not expect to have to work as much as I did. Close attention was needed on my part to keep up. My recommendation is to visit Nina’s site linked above for greater detail.

Part of the discussion was the “Hero’s Journey” which is summarized here:


Many of you will be aware of this or have read Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”; it is much different to hear it discussed from a writer’s perspective with examples from modern books and current films. Nina did a nice job of weaving these in without being sidelined by the books or films.

My stream of conscious notes are below – Be Well dcd

  • One Scene at a time
  • Nina Munteanu  U of T
  • Think of Building a House
  • Blueprint
  • excavation and foundation
  • Framing
  • Plumbing heating and electricit
  • Wallboard
  • Plaster and Paint
  • Blueprint
  • Idea> Premise and Theme – outline/synopsis
  • Excavation and Fountain – Setting is a Character
  • Character and setting go together
  • Framing – Conflict-plots
  • Plumbing heating and Electricity – revise process – Foreshadowing, is it done?
  • Volunteering helps you control the session
  • First draft is the bigger story
  • Wallboard – editing – second revision – third pass through story
  • Scene and Sequel and Scene
  • Scene is the action – movement –
  • Sequel is the reaction to the action
  • Goal-conflict-disaster=scene
  • The 3 act plot structure
  • Beginning – Promise – Separation
  • Middle – movement – Initiation and transformation
  • End – Fulfillment – Return with a gift
  • Promise and atonement
  •  Core dramatic issue – example – to be loved, to control’s ones fate etc
  • Movement = Transformation – the hero’s journey – fear to courage, hate to love and mercy
  • Fulfillment – resolution of the promise – Act 3 mirrors Act 1
  • Shift tin thinking, Epiphany,  power
  • Journey of transformation – all stories have this it is genre neutral
  • 12 steps in the hero’s journey – Campbell’s list
  • ACT One
  • Ordinary world
  • Call to adventure
  • Refusal of call
  • Meeting of the mentor
  • Crossing the threshold
  • Act two

  • Tests, allies, enemies
  • Approach to the innermost cave
  • Ordeal (the abyss)
  • Reward – transformation and revelation
  • Act three

  • There road block
  • Resurrection
  • Return with the “gift”
  • The seven archetypes
  • Hero
  • Mentor
  • Herald –
  • Threshold guardian – help or hinder
  • Shapeshifter – not who they seem – the bad guys
  • Shadow – against the hero’s quest
  • Trickster – distraction –
  • Premise-Promise-Plot=Theme – all about a character on a journey
  • If the theme is empowerment then the journey is about coming into power
  • Story people are made to order for do a specific job
  • A Character’s Tragic Flaw is tied to the Story’s theme
  • Premise + Theme = Promise
  • Explain setting as character – the characters interact with the setting

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s