Novels in their early stages tend to be unwieldy collections of scenes. In order to become a novel, causality must be established. Each scene must lead inexorably (yet unpredictably) to the next. Tension, emotion and the presence of secondary characters should also be tracked. A storyboard can help. The entire technique is described in Writing Stories: Ideas, Exercises and Encouragement forTeachers and Writers of All Ages by Carolyn Coman, but here’s a brief overview.
- Draw a simple sketch depicting the main event in every chapter. (The art doesn’t have to be good.)
- Below the pictures, write a phrase describing the action. (Use an action verb.)
- Above the pictures state the primary emotion.
You can check for sequences where the action or tension is lacking.
You can monitor the ebb and flow of emotions.
Here’s my example from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the scene where Harry fights Lord Voldemort in the graveyard.