Plotting with the Snowflake Method

Posted: December 14, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

With only three more Monday’s left in 2015, I decided to look over my blog to see what I am missing. I know in the past I planned do things and never came through on them. One of those things is my Plotting Section. If you click on it that section you will see this:

“One of my goals in life is to help others become better writers, working with the Creative Writing group on campus, a whole new batch of students… are interested in plotting, not necessarily just novels. While, I plan to do my part in the club, I figure it would be a good idea to add a section here…”

Well, that is a edited version of what you will see anyway, that’s it, nothing else is there. Not even my own writing slimmed down style. Though, if you’re interest you could just click on my writing style and it unlike plotting there is stuff there for you to read. It horribly needs to be updated, but at least something is there. Except for the final part writing. So, for the this week and next Craft Post, I am going to post another author’s writing style and how they go about it. Finally, on the final Craft post of 2015, I am going to talk about the year in review and the coming year. Yes, that means a post on New Years Resolutions. Not this will be just a summary of the method and there will be a link to where you can get more information if you’re interested.

Enough with everything let’s get to the post on writing. The Snowflake Writing Method, created by Randy Ingermanson. Yes, the guy I mention last weeks craft post. (Note, I didn’t realize the link to the article didn’t go through. I fixed it in last weeks post.) I am starting with his method as, solely because he was one of the first authors I learnt from about writing. I can’t remember the first, but something he was a seat of the pants writer. No help there… Just kidding. That guy helped me know how I can’t write and that I was an outliner. Anyway, if you want how the Snowflake Method works from the creator’s mouth you can find an article he wrote, Here

Randy by day is a software designer, and he designed his novels the same way he designs software. Using the mathematical object, and how to draw a snowflake to represent the steps each author can got through to help design your novel. You may think drawing a snowflake is hard, but in ten steps you can easily draw this:

isight-2015-12-14-00-24.png 1____isight-2015-12-14-00-24.png You can draw a snowflake by starting with a triangle.
2____isight-2015-12-14-00-24.png By adding another triangle you get a star.
3____isight-2015-12-14-00-24.png With each step you keep adding triangles you start to see the shape
4____isight-2015-12-14-00-24.png Finally when you have done this ten times you have a snowflake. You could keep going, but after ten times of adding triangles the human eye can’t tell the difference.


10 Steps to the Snowflake Method

  1. Write a one-sentence summary of your novel in 15 or less words. (The fewer the words the better.)
  2. Turn you one-sentence summary into a full paragraph, describing the beginning of your story, the big disasters, and the ending. Ideal your paragraph should be five sentences. (Randy recommends three big disasters before the ending.)
  3. Write a one page summary of all major characters. Suggested things to cover in your summary. (The character’s name, a one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?) The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?) The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?) The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change? A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline)
  4. Take each sentence from your summary paragraph and turn it into its own paragraph. (First four paragraphs should end in a disaster; the final paragraph should end the story.)
  5. Write a one-page character description for major characters and a half page for supporting characters. The description is telling the story from each characters point of view.
  6. From your one page summary of five paragraphs, take each paragraph and turn each one into a one-page summary. Each page should end in a disaster, except the final page, that should end the story.
  7. Taking your characters summaries and expand them into full Character Profiles. It should detail everything there is to know about your character. (Suggested things that should be in the profile: The standard stuff such as birthdate, description, history, motivation, goal, etc.) The most important thing needed is how will each character change by the end of the novel.
  8. Using your Book Summary, create a scene list of every scene that will be in your novel. This can be simple sentence or paragraph, it is up to you to decide what works best for you. (Randy recommends picking the POV character for each scene. He also suggest putting guess on how many words each scene will be. It doesn’t have to actually hit that word count. Return back to this and enter the actual word count after you written the scene.)
  9. This step is optional and Randy admits he doesn’t do it anymore. In this step you take you scene list and turn each scene into a paragraph with ideas for dialogue or other cool moments.
  10. Write the first draft.


Final suggestions

  • As you work your way through the steps of the Snowflake Method, feel free to go back to earlier steps and make changes as you learn more about your story and characters.
  • You do not need to follow this method completely, take what you like and use it and disregard what you don’t.
  • Not everyone is going to like the whole thing, so only use what you like.When you do use the whole Snowflake Method, you will have everything you need for a Book Proposal to an editor.



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