Fictional Story Boarding
Outline of The Hero’s Journey with Faith Points
By Christina Sinisi
(Adapted from work by Alexandra Sokoloff with the Faith Points Original)
For each book I write, I start with a posterboard, the kind your child uses for the Science Fair. Then, I tape index cards going vertically for each of the plot points. All of this came from a seminar I attended given by Ms. Sokoloff, except I add what I call Faith Points.
This goes in the left portion of the poster board, in two vertical columns. In a single title book, this act takes place in approximately the first 100 pages of a 400-page book/50-75 in a shorter book).
Meet the Hero
Meet the Heroine
Hero’s Inner Desire
Heroine’s Inner Desire (You might use Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, and Conflict book for these
Two desires and problems)
Inciting Incident/Call to Adventure
Meet the Antagonist (or introduce a mystery)
State the Theme
Introduce Mentor (or in romance, best friend)
Introduce Love interest (if different from above)
Plants/Reveals (or Setups and Payoffs)
Hope/Fear (and Stakes)
Time Clock (if you have one—in suspense, would be very helpful)
Sequence One Climax
Act One Climax
FAITH POINTS: FOR BOTH HERO AND HEROINE, decide if the individual has a faith. For a Christian romance/fiction novel, both need to have developed or have a faith by the end. If yes, is that faith strong or weak. If the faith is strong, how will it be tested? If the faith is weak, how will it be strengthened?
In the first act, at some point, the reader needs to know where the character stands as far as faith—an introduction.
There are two parts to Act 2. The first part goes on the left half of the middle of the board; the second part goes on the right half of the board. The cards for each part will form two columns, first, then second, back and forth.
Crossing the Threshold. (first column)
Threshold Guardian. (second column)
Series of Tests.
Picking up Allies.
Hero’s Ghost or Wound.
Heroine’s Ghost or Wound.
Antagonist’s Ghost or Wound.
Midpoint. At this point, the hero (or heroine—who’s story is it, mostly?) will get what they want and things get worse afterwards.
ACT TWO, PART TWO. (Only needs one column of index cards).
Escalating Actions/Obsessive Drive
Hard Choices and Crossing the Line
Loss of Key Allies
A Ticking Clock
Reversals and Revelations/Twists.
The Long Dark Night of the Soul.
FAITH POINTS. Whatever the dark night of the soul in the main story, the main character’s faith must be affected. By the end, the hero/heroine should have a strong relationship with the Lord, or at least the beginnings of one.
Hero’s Character Change.
Heroine’s Character Change.
Antagonist’s Character Change.
Gaining of Desire.
Now, for YOUR Story…obtain a stack of post-it notes in different colors. I go for the traditional pink for the heroine, blue for the hero, red for the romance (if your story is one), purple for faith points, etc. I take a day or two to fill out the post-it notes for each index card…and the great thing is, with post-it notes, if you change your mind, take off the old one, throw it away, and post a new one.
Don’t feel you have to follow these points slavishly…instead, they are great guidelines and help when you get stuck! For more details on each point, please visit my blog. 😊
Dixon, D. (1996). GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. The Building Blocks of Good Fiction. Gryphon
Books for Writers.
Sokoloff, A. (nd). Screenwriting Tricks for Authors (and Screenwriters!). Order from her web page.
Vogler, C. (1992). The Writer’s Journey. Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters. Published by
Michael Wiese Productions.
Find me at: Website/Blog: https://www.christinasinisi.com/
Social Networking Sites:
Bio: A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christina Sinisi writes stories about families, both the broken and blessed. Her works include a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and the American Title IV Contest where she appeared in the top ten in the Romantic Times magazine. Her published books include Christmas Confusion, Sweet Summer, and the Christmas on Ocracoke. By day, she is a psychology professor and lives in the LowCountry of South Carolina with her husband, two children and her crazy cat Chessie Mae.