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  • Writer's pictureMartin Svolgart


Although I may have developed tools for outlining as well as a pantser (not the strict outlining kind of author, which is called a plotter) can, then storyboarding is completely new to me. Considering I’m not a plotter by nature and merely outline rough points and bridge it all later in the first draft, this is a new way of thinking for me.

I missed a step

But I certainly see the point! Working with learning that has delayed my plans for uploading a video to YouTube a week after the first went live. I still learned a lot, so you get a blog post. That, I can figure out!

Within the creative crafts, it’s possible to learn from other people’s mistakes, but we have to study the craftsmanship behind it in order to be cognitively aware of it just like we have to find the standards and understand them before we can tinker with them.

To do this, I try to seek out videos from all kinds of channels. The good, the bad, and the mediocre. I study what makes something work or fall flat, hoping to gain the insight that lets me contemplate how to better my own skills for the next videos.

That's all fine and dandy, but I needed another skillset before I can use those tools.

I missed the factor that storyboarding is necessary, and I learned that because I didn't get the footage I needed to tell the story I wanted to. I missed that tool and focused mostly on filming the content. But with no clear plan.

I learned that! I have to study storyboarding before I can finish the next video. Luckily, YouTube can teach anything, and I've found a storyboard template to start trying my hands at that skill.

The goal with the next video is to at least do one thing better, and my goal this time is to make a more visually engaging video.

To get a better idea of how to plan out the videos, I’ve downloaded a template on a site called Boords

They have a blog with all sorts of information, which I’m working through while also trying to put it into praxis and plan the next video.

But I try to mainly watch YouTube videos because they allow me to study the medium that I’m trying to learn. It’s part of the project outline...which I just remembered I haven’t really put up anywhere…

*jots that down on the growing to-do list*

This is part of where I messed up. Studying the products of the craft can generate ideas, sure, but they won't teach us the tools to work those ideas into something. I now have a bunch of ideas, so the time is still well spent. I have those for later - once I've learned the needed tools to put them into praxis.

Focus on the right aspects while learning

When I first began writing, I remember wanting my manuscript to look like a book, and I tried all sorts of things (on my IBM ball-head typewriter – yes, I’m that old!) to set it up so that I typed it out like opening a book. It merely served to distract me from the craft I was trying to learn. Formatting was so far into the future that it didn’t serve me at all.

In the end, I gave up on that, yet I still looked in books to see how they were crafted. Like a mason can look at a wall and see something pertaining to his craft on how it’s built, a writer can learn a lot from looking at other books and glean insight into the tools that have become a standard in order to wrap up a story.

Like chapters being a standard but not a necessary rule. Instead, they’re a tool to function as markers throughout the book. To divide it up into bite-sizes. In my Brass Knuckles serial, I use days instead of chapters because they then become a tool to help tell part of the story—that the MC is emotionally broken and that his journey is about counting the days until his heart recovers from losing his wife and son to a traffic accident. (The book isn’t as boring as this makes it sound, but it’s the point of the days and not chapters).

I’ve never used chapter titles, but I’ve seen it used as a tool with great effect that I, as a reader, thoroughly enjoyed as part of the experience.

But there are some fundamentals that have become standards to make everything uniform enough for readers to “feel at home” when opening a book to meet the unknown in a story. That’s the point of making some tools standards—to make sure the readers aren’t overwhelmed with having to get used to new things when picking up a book.

Of course, it probably started with editors not bothering to have to get used to something new every time they started reading a new script for evaluation, and you’ll still find “house styles” differ from one publishing house to another. It’s simply a “lean” process to minimize effort and heighten work productivity for the AEs (Acquisition Editors).

I’m studying YouTube and visual medium communication now, so I need to learn from the best and the worst and figure out standards. Why both? Seeing what doesn’t work is as important as seeing what does, considering what does work is rarely what we notice. We just get an overall cool experience of many details within a craft that culminate in the sum of their perfection. When they don’t work? That’s when they become glaringly obvious. It’s also why writers are told to read a lot when starting out.

Lesson learned

I focused on the wrong thing on the long list of things to be learned this week, meaning I didn't manage to evolve enough to create a product. It's a valuable lesson learned, and I'll now try to generate tools that allow me to better structure the learning curve instead of attacking this from the side.

So what's on its way into your drawer? What are you learning? I'd love to know.

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