A Storyboard in the Cloud

Screenshot of a Spaaze storyboard

I'm continuing my exploration of the options available to writers with a Chromebook, or anyone else who wants to use only applications that are available in the Cloud.

Spaaze is the most enjoyable way to storyboard your plot that I've found so far. It's got a good cork background and the interface takes up very little screen space, so you can browse your scene cards without distraction. It's not intended specifically for fiction writing, so there are some hoops that you need to jump through, but even with the extra steps this is the one that I like the most so far.

The issues:

  • You'll want to use the 'Note' objects for your scenes, but by default they appear as a small ring-bound notepad page in portrait orientation. If you want to change this to an index card in landscape - as in the screenshot here - it needs a couple of clicks on the style settings for each card. You can save the exact font and size format that you want as a style, but it's still a few clicks. In practice, this becomes so intuitive that you hardly notice it.
  • Unlike the storyboard in applications that target writers, Spaaze isn't based around a grid, so the cards don't automatically flow to a new place when you insert a new scene or change the order. You have to move them around manually, just like you would on a real cork board. However, this can be a blessing in disguise, as this also means that you can stack scenes that you might want to merge, or group scenes in other ways that make sense as you work.

What's really nice:

  • You can add big labels to the board, for whatever you need, as well as the scene cards.
  • You can mark hot spots. These give you a menu link to jump to a particular part of the cork board (which is infinite). I use these for Act 1, Act 2 - First Half, Act 2 - Second Half, and Act 3, giving me a very easy way to bounce around and appreciate the novel structure.
  • It's in the Cloud, so you can get straight to your board from any device. (Although the downside here is that there's no offline option.)

Spaaze is free for two boards, so try it out and let me know what you think.


arjaybe's picture

Tomorrow it will be a year since you posted here.  Have you lost interest?


Graham Brand's picture

A year, eek!

I got swept up into running an IT project in Australia for a lot of the year, and it was hard to get my brain to jump tracks and think about writing. However, I've got back into it over the last few weeks - I finished the first draft of a new short robot story yesterday - and I was actually going to do a new blog post last Sunday, but got distracted.

I should have a new post soon, though, I've found an excellent new application for writing in the cloud.

arjaybe's picture

Good.  I look forward to it.