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How author Jo Knowles uses storyboarding to imagine her stories

Even though I suspect I have a drawing deficiency, I’m intrigued by drawing and by how writers can use it to outline and build out stories. Drawing can bring ideas and insight to the surface.

So I was especially excited to read an interview that Debbie Ridpath Ohi conducted with award-winning writer Jo Knowles. Knowles has a master’s degree in children’s literature and has taught writing for children in the MFA program at Simmons College.

In this interview posted on, Knowles talks about her writing process and how she uses storyboarding to advance her writing. She says creating a storyboard helps her, “get organized, and figure out themes, plot and rhythm of the book.”

I like the idea of using imagery to imagine a story. Knowles draws pictures for each chapter and thinks of a phrase to summarize the point of it. Then she assigns an emotion to it.

The reason I think this is such a good writing strategy is because it helps capture the emotional resonance of a story, something that can make a difference in whether readers will connect with a book and characters. Read the interview for more details about Knowles’s storyboarding process and her perspective on writing, as well as pictures from her writer’s notebook. You’ll also find more drawing inspiration on Inkygirl, which is billed as “An illustrated guide for those who write and draw for young people.”

To learn more about Knowles and her books, visit her website.

And for more insight about drawing and writing, read my post: How drawing can help you become a better writer.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. thank you for sharing this. I think this may just help me plan out my stories better 🙂

    March 22, 2013

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