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Storyboarding with the Scrivener Corkboard

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Jennifer Ackerman Kettell explains how Scrivener's Corkboard related to index cards and can be invaluable when storyboarding your project.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

From multicolored index cards and post-it notes to foam-core plotting boards and decoupage collages, the process of planning a story can become quite an artistic adventure. Seeing a visual representation of your story engages the creative side of your brain while also appeasing your logical side by potentially highlighting dangling plot threads, the balance of point-of-view (POV) characters, and other story elements.

If you like to storyboard your books before you begin writing, the Corkboard will prove to be an invaluable tool in your writer’s toolkit. Even if you are a pantser, you may find that viewing the Corkboard when you’re blocked can help you see the flow of your story to discover what should come next. It can also be used as an editing tool to analyze your completed draft before undertaking revisions.

Academic and nonfiction writers can also benefit from using the Corkboard. Viewing your project in such a visual manner can ensure you have established enough supporting elements for your thesis and put your sections in proper order to provide the most impact.

Scrivener’s Corkboard is based on the concept of index cards tacked up to a board, but without the mess of glue sticks or dropped pushpins. Each item in the Binder is represented by an index card, and cards can be color-coded and moved around the Corkboard, just like their nonvirtual counterparts. Unlike a physical corkboard, however, Scrivener’s Corkboard travels with your work in progress; anywhere you use Scrivener, you can view your Corkboard.

Opening the Corkboard

As with Scrivenings, the Corkboard is another way to view multiple items from the Binder together as a group. To open the Corkboard:

  1. Select the container you want to view from the Binder.
  2. Choose one of the following options:

    • Click the Corkboard icon in the Group mode on the toolbar.
    • Choose View, Corkboard from the menu.
    • Press Cmd-2 (Ctrl+2 in Windows).

The Editor window displays the Corkboard view, as shown in Figure 6.1. The standard Corkboard displays a single level of your project hierarchy. Each file at that level is represented by an index card. Folders or file groups containing subdocuments are represented by a stack of index cards, indicating content at a lower level in the hierarchy.


Figure 6.1 The Corkboard displays index cards of each document in the selected container. The Synopsis area displays either text or an image, as added in the Inspector.

The Corkboard is not a fixed view of your documents. If you loaded a container into the Corkboard, you can move cards around to change their order within the container, and these changes are reflected immediately in the Binder. To move a card, just click and drag it to its new location. You can also drag the card from the Corkboard into a different container in the Binder.

Viewing Multiple Containers in a Stacked Corkboard

When you click on a single container in the Binder, the Corkboard displays all of the documents within the top level of that container. If you select multiple containers on the Mac, however, you can stack Corkboards in order to view them all at the same time, as shown in Figure 6.2. To do this, hold down the Cmd key on the Mac while clicking on multiple containers in the Binder.


Figure 6.2 A stacked Corkboard displays two or more containers simultaneously.

When the Corkboard is stacked, each container’s contents appear on the Corkboard. A line appears between the cards for each container, and the shading of the background changes. By default, the cards for each container wrap within the window, as you can see in Figure 6.2, and the containers are stacked horizontally. Change the arrangement of the cards using the three buttons on the right side of the Footer bar. Your options are as follows:

  • Wrap Cards: The default view. The cards for the container wrap as they do in the standard Corkboard view, and the Corkboards are stacked horizontally on top of each other.
  • Arrange Cards in Rows: The cards within a container appear in a single row, with the Corkboards stacked horizontally.
  • Arrange Cards in Columns: The cards within a container appear in a single column, with the Corkboards arranged side by side vertically.

Adding Documents to the Corkboard

If you get an idea for a new scene or concept in your writing project, you can add a new document within the Corkboard. Click the Add button in the toolbar, and a new card appears on the Corkboard. You can also use any of the other methods for adding a new document you learned in Chapter 3. If you want to add a new card directly after an existing card, select that card before adding the new one.

When you are viewing a stacked Corkboard, if no card is selected when you add a new card, it gets added to the end of the final stack. If a card is selected, the new card is added immediately after it.

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