I finally sat down and storyboarded my WIP. For each chapter, I drew a picture of the key scene, described it using an action verb, and noted the primary emotion. It was well worth the time and effort.
My limited drawing skills make it difficult to differentiate between characters, so I color coded them. My female protagonist was pink and her love interest was blue. The other boy was green because the love interest is jealous of him. The grandfather was gray, and the Russian woman was red. Even so, I found the drawing part challenging, and wondered if simply stating the action would be sufficient. No. It was too easy to deceive myself by using an action verb to describe a scene in which two people are talking.
I discovered my chapter breaks need work. I plan to remove all of them, then read through the novel and set breaks in more natural places.
By flipping through the cards, it’s easy to see high and low points in the action. While tension should ebb and flow in every manuscript, it’s altogether possible I have too many ebbs.