Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Story Carding

Long before manga or anime there was Kamishibai, a form of Japanese storytelling with picture cards based on the same practice used by 12th century Buddhist monks who used picture scrolls to teach morality lessons. This is now a popular form of storytelling in schools on this side of the planet, and board versions of kamishibai are even employed by some corporations as a visual management tool.

Back in 2008 I came up with the idea to make character trading cards using Big Huge Labs photo trading card generator, and I've always been interested in cards like as a storytelling tool. If you take the kamishibai approach to creating cards for your story, and use a strong symbolic image, some titles and descriptive sentences, you could card every chapter like this:

Now to show you how that template works with a real story, here are two cards I've made for my NaNoWriMo 2014 novel:

I think this might work as well if not better than index cards, sticky notes or all the other ways we outline stories. You can also do these cards for scenes versus chapters. Also, you can use any card form you like; I just went with Big Huge Labs's card generator because it's easy and the results are attractive.

What do you think of the idea? Let me know in comments.


  1. My story outline includes an sentence or two for every scene, adding a picture to the mix would help set my mindset. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Carla1:10 PM

    I think it's a great way to outline. Really helps to pull you into the story.

  3. Ooooh, this looks so cool! What a great way to get into the scene.