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How To Build a Snowman (Any Time of The Year) Tags: writing plotting character development novel writing writing methods snowflake method for writing a novel

How To Build a Snowman (Any Time of the Year)

I know, sounds impossible doesnít it? But hopefully it got your attention. †And when Iím not talking about the cold white stuff as such, it will make more sense.

When I realised during NaNo, that my story was going to be a lot bigger than Iíd originally planned, I nearly threw in the towel. It was day thirteen (ominous enough). I had a sore throat, a thumping headache and so curled up on the sofa with my Kindle. Scrolling through the unread items in the library I came across How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. This method wasnít new to me but I hadnít read the book. Itís not a long book, in fact I didnít put it down until I had read ĎThe Endí.

Randy explains the method using familiar characters and stories from childhood. Goldilocks is the protagonist and the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs feature but it is by no means a fairy story. It takes you through the ten steps of the Snowflake Method demonstrating each one with examples of how it works in practice and more. I have never read a How To book like it. At first I thought, Ďthis is stupidí and then two hours later, I reached ĎThe End. What can I say? †Iím a simple girl at heart and love a fairytale.

There are three reasons this method works for me:

  • Plot or Character Driven: First and foremost it solves this age old issue †as the steps alternate between the two, interweaving each so that both are given equal consideration. †Makes sense when you think that a story canít do without either.

  • Small Steps: The steps for both plot and character build on one another. The analogy with the snowflake fractal is that it starts small and then becomes more complex. The actions range from writing a one sentence plot synopsis to detailed scene summaries and character point of view sketches to character bibles.

  • Ease of Change: The most important thing for me is the ability to backtrack at any point of this system. I have a scatter brain. My Ďwhat ifísí can cover three or four pages and I like to play with different scenarioís to see what impact they have. This way means that I donít have to rewrite reams and reams or discover half way through thousands of words that itís not working.

Much of the work produced by this method will come in handy at the publication stage. †It provides material that will market the story in a succinct, snappy style. It can also be used, in reverse, for an existing Work in Progress which may be floundering for whatever reason.

So no need to don your hat, gloves and coat. You can start using snowflakes to build your snowman in the comfort of your warm writing place, and not just at Christmas - or November for that matter.


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