The Snowflake Method

This NaNoWriMo I have set myself the goal of outlining and plotting the series of middle-grade fantasy books I plan on writing. To achieve this goal I have decided to use a method created by Randy Ingermanson called the Snowflake Method.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert!🤫

I first came across the Snowflake Method a couple of years ago when I was trying to figure out if, and how, I could become a writer. I’ve always had ideas for stories bubbling around inside my head and over the years I’ve got as far as writing down the occasional opening chapter or drawing the fantasy map where my story would take place. I never got any further than that though, and I couldn’t really figure out why. Then I read the book How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method and I understood where my problem lay.

You see, I had never heard of Pantsers and Plotters before. For years, the image of “The Writer” I held in my head was of this uber-creative individual that would sit herself down at her computer and type away for hours and hours and eventually print out an enormous stack of pages (*I know it’s corny, but bear with me) and smile with pride at her finished novel. Nowhere in that image did I see this person struggle to find the right words or stare blankly at the empty white page, trying to decide what to write – like I was prone to do.

After reading Ingermanson’s book, I finally understood the reason why the blank page terrified me and prevented me from writing – I am not a Pantser! I should have guessed really. I’m an organised person by nature and I love a good list… or seven. It should have occurred to me to plan and prepare to write, just as I prepare for a family holiday or project at work. Nevertheless, I finally figured out what was holding me back and how to fix it! All I needed now, was the time to try it out and the right project to work on.

Fast forward to today and I am finally ready to put this method to the test! In theory, the Snowflake method is both simple enough to follow and complex enough that it allows writers of all ages and interests, to fine-tune a plot and cast of characters they can use to help them write a successful novel. There’s more to writing a bestselling novel than the perfect outline, of course, but it’s a good place to start.

The Snowflake Method, boiled down, is a series of steps that will help you reach the goal of a strong first draft. Each step expands on the work you’ve done on previous steps and generally, the focus of each step switches between expanding your plot or your characters. With each step you complete, your outline grows more and more detailed and intricate, like the branches of a snowflake, until eventually you have a rich and detailed plot with authentic, engaging characters. That’s at least the goal!

If you’d like to know more about the Snowflake Method, I’d highly recommend reading the book How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson or checkout his website here. The book is a bit wacky, but stick with it and you’ll have a clear idea of how the method works and the tools to craft a great outline, by the time you reach the end.

I’m off to expand on my Snowflake!

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