Friday, September 04, 2009

The Snowflake Method

Plotting is hard.

There I've said it.

In the past, Rich has been known to give me undue credit for my plot development role in our writing projects. I think this is because I feel very strongly about strong plots. Not to diminish the other key aspects of writing (e.g. we are also adamant proponents of excellent characterization), but to me plot is the story.

In the writing workshop that we do at schools, we define plot as "How the main character gets what he/she wants". Having an interesting premise is great, but without the compelling plot with its harrowing obstacles, climax, and resolution, you're just wasting your time.

But plotting is hard. Maybe I mentioned that before.

That's why I was intrigued when I ran across the reference and link to Randy Ingermanson's snowflake method at Joanna's blog: Just a Lyric in a Children's Rhyme. I've read books on plotting, but the snowflake method put things in simpler terms and used an analogy, which dumbed it down so that even I could follow along easily.

If you're one of our resident writers, I recommend that you check out the Snowflake Method. You never snow, it might be just the thing you needed.


Joanna said...

Thanks for the linkage! :-)

I'm currently Snowflaking my way through this year's soon-to-be NaNoWriMo novel, and am finding it as ridiculously awesome and useful as usual.

Hope it's working for you as well!

Rich said...

Wow. Obviously, you have to go through a lot of those steps at one time or another during writing a novel, but I definitely appreciate the step-by-step approach and can see how it could save lots of time.

Great find!

Diabolical Genius said...

Looks like you've hosted NaNoWriMo Kick-off parties in the past complete with on-line video.

Plans to do that again this year?

Joanna said...

DG, Friends I met through the NaNo Viddler group ( hosted a kickoff last year, and are doing it again this year; hopefully I can make it! At any rate, I'll probably start vlogging again soon. :-) Viddler is lots of fun!

Anonymous said...

I've got my idea for NaNoWriMo and it's pretty neat, if I do say so myself. I'll have to check out the snowflake method. Of the four years I've done it, I've written a.) seat-of-the-pants, b.)decide the end and plan backwards from that, c.) start with a main character and a murder (knowing who dunnit first) and going from there, and d.) doing character sketches and timelines. I won the first three years, but not the fourth. :o(

This year I'm reading lots of books on organ donors and recipients. I'll jump more into the story on November 1st.


p.s. any Nanoers, I'm wandering1 on the NaNo site. Come find me.

DugALug said...

Wow! After reading that link, I think I need a nap!

God Bless

Diabolical Genius said...

You see Doug, if you'd been staying up all hours of the night beating your head against the computer monitor trying to get your novel's plot worked out, (deep breath) you'd be very thankful for this recipe which takes an abstract, sometimes-seemly insurmountable task and breaks it down into manageable bits, (another deep breath) especially if you had a high degreee of confidence that in the end you would be successful.

Go take your nap, now.

DugALug said...


Joanna said...

Stuck at the end of Step Four, as I have to figure out what exactly happens at the end of my novel. Useful to know that now instead of being stuck at the end of the *actual* novel...

Diabolical Genius said...