The Storyboard as an Anchor for Trilogies

It’s hard enough to keep track of people, places, and things when writing a standalone book, so when I write a trilogy I ALWAYS use a storyboard.

Here is the storyboard for the new Heartlandia series:Heartlandia board

A DOCTOR FOR KEEPS Harlequin Special Edition, is out now, and is the first book in a three-book series set in the fictional small town of Heartlandia, Oregon – a Scandinavian enclave along the gorgeous Columbia River. Now, if this sounds suspiciously similar to Astoria, it is. The beauty of creating fictional towns is you can pick and choose what you want to use from real places and those tucked away places in the head–I like to call that my creativity spot—to make the setting exactly the way it was envisioned in the mind. Some details stay and others get tossed, making the setting seem similar but not exactly like the real place.

Bridge Of The Gods

Book one is in the upper left hand corner.  Here is a closer view:photo_2 Heartlandia







Book #2, Gunnar’s story, is along the top and the upper right and will be out in March 2015:photo_3 - Heartlandia


photo_4 - Heartlandiaand book #3, Leif Andersen’s story, is lower right side and along the bottom and will be out in the fall of 2015.


photo_5 Heartlandia

Desi is the long lost granddaughter of Heartlandia’s Mayor pro tem, and she makes her way home at a crucial time in the city’s history. There’s a town secret that just might blow the lid off “the way things have always been” and only a handful of people know about it. No this book isn’t a mystery, the secret is only a subplot, but I had a ball making it up and threading it throughout the three books.

HSTAR709_Danielle-Finished-Space-Living-Room_s4x3_lg(This is how I pictured Desi)

Of course Desdemona’s story is a romance, one that involves the tall “Viking” type who lives next door to her grandmother, with his son.  Notice Eric Dane’s picture?  Yeah, that’s the guy I had in mind. See Male on Monday at Pink Heart Society for more on Kent/Eric.

In a recent spotlight interview (goes live July 19th at Harlequin Junkie) I was asked if I could give my characters advice what it would be.  Here’s my answer (consider this a sneak preview of the spotlight – which will also involve a book giveaway – hint hint)

For Desdemona – when you’re too focused on one thing and only interested in getting where you’re going (finding your father and meeting him) you might miss all the wonderful things right under your nose. Look up! Look around. Take it ALL in. Who knows what can happen when your mind and heart are open?

For Kent – Even when your heart has been battered by love, it is better to be open to new love than to be completely shut down to life. Let your spirited son show you the way!


Authors – do you storyboard your books?

Readers: There’s a game that circulates around at Facebook again and again asking if you could give advice to your younger self, what you would say. Share some advice in a comment, won’t you?

Until next time, make it a great one!


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10 Responses to The Storyboard as an Anchor for Trilogies

  1. robena grant says:

    I like this. I always story board. Give me paper, magazines, scissors and glue and I’ll collage my heart away. I’m like a little kid.
    If there was one thing I’d tell my younger self it would be to slow down and stay a while. I was always on the go and looking for the next adventure.

    • Robena – isn’t it fun to make these boards and add things as they pop up in the story? Oh, and you sound a lot like Desi – good advice!

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Dee J. says:

    I should storyboard. I wish I did. I used the chapter board and sticky notes for a few books, but I’ve never done the picture thing. I can see how it’s totally inspirational. If I only had some extra time… and magazines to cut up. LOL.

  3. Muriel Jensen says:

    Lynne – Hi! Muriel Jensen, here (I write for Heartwarming) and as we ‘speak,’ I’m looking out at the Columbia River from my home office on the 15th St. hill in Astoria! (Thanks to Liz Flaherty for letting me know where to find you.) Your series sounds wonderful – am in love with Erik Dane, myself – and sounds like a must-read for me! I think I’d tell my younger self to relax and instead of trying to guide the events in my life, just be prepared to deal with whatever happens. It’s usually so much more fun and enlightening than what I thought I wanted anyway. I storyboard, too. Makes what’s in my brain easier to look at and think about when I’m distracted by everything else.)

    • Hi Muriel – I’m so glad you found me! Wow, a real Astorian. (Is that what you call yourselves?) I loved that city, and especially where it is located. So I certainly took fictitious liberties with the area, but tried to capture what I loved about your town. I bet you never get tired of gazing at that gorgeous river.
      Oh, and great advice to your younger self. I still need to remember that.
      Glad to know there’s another storyboarder out there. 🙂
      Thanks so much for commenting.

  4. Hi Dee J –
    Magazines who has magazines? ha ha. These pictures are all off the Internet –
    Google makes storyboarding very, very easy. 🙂
    Try it , you’ll like it!

  5. Janie Emaus says:

    I have never done this, but think I may give it a try on my current WIP.

  6. Kady Winter says:

    Looks like a fabulous new series, Lynne. And what a great storyboard! I don’t actually put my pictures on a physical board, but I have them all loaded into Scrivener and pull them up when needing inspiration. I love that your heroine is bi-racial, too. Yay for more diversity!

  7. Hi Kady – thanks for stopping by. Do you have to split the computer screen in order to access those pictures on Scrivener? I’m old fashioned I guess because I like to lean my storyboard against my paper shredder and look at it while I’m writing.
    Yes, I have quite a line up of heroine’s in this series. Book #2 Lilly Matsuda is a journalist from San Francisco hell bent on making Gunnar’s life miserable. and book #3’s heroine is lovely and talented Marta Hoyas an artist from Sedona, AZ hired to paint the historical mural on the new college campus that Leif Andersen has built in Heartlandia. They all get there HEAs, too. 🙂