The Snowflake Method is one of many methodologies and techniques for writing a novel. In fact, Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method is one of the most respected methodologies out there.
The founding concept behind the Snowflake Method is that great novels are designed not conjured out of the ether.
If you want to write a better novel, you need to stop making it up as you go along and start applying a purposeful methodology to your process and the Snowflake Method is a great starting point.
So what’s the Snowflake Method all about?
The Snowflake Method is based around the idea that a writer begins with a simplistic deep theme and then, over time, develops and adds complexity. In other words; you start with a simple idea and then build on this idea until is transforms from a single sentence or idea into a full-blown novel.
I am not saying that the Snowflake Method is the ‘best’ method to write a novel. In fact, I feel many writers will be horrified at such detailed levels of planning. However, some writers will find an affinity with the Snowflake Method.
If you are a writer that plans, this article might just change your writing life!
The Snowflake Method Ten Step Process
1 .Write a one-sentence summary of your novel.
2. Expand the sentence to a paragraph describing the story narrative, any major events, and the ending.
3 . Now consider the main character and write a one page summary for each, considering the following points:
- 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. Go back to the summary you wrote in 2 and expand each sentence into a paragraph.
- Randy’s advice here is: Take several hours and expand each sentence of your summary paragraph into a full paragraph. All but the last paragraph should end in a disaster. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends. Source
5. Write a one page description for each major character, which tells the story from their point of view.
6. Expand your one page plot synopsis into a four page plot synopsis.
7. Expand your character descriptions from 3 into full ‘character charts’.
8. Using the expanded synopsis, make a list of every scene you will need to write to complete the novel.
9. Using the scene list, write a multi-paragraph narrative description of each scene.
10. Write your first draft.
This post is a summary of Ingermanson’s thinking and ideas. I strongly suggest that if you wish to apply the Snowflake Method that you go to Randy Ingermanson’s website to find more details.