So, I’ve dreamed, plotted, nixed bad or hack ideas and finally figured out what my next project will be.
Next, I expand the one sentence to a paragraph. (Not for query purposes.) (This is based on Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.)
Sentence one: Set up.
Sentence two: Events up to first disaster. (End of Act I)
Sentence three: Events up to second disaster. (Middle of Act II)
Sentence four: Events up to the third disaster. (dark moment and End of Act II)
Sentence five: Climax of final confrontation and ending. (Act III)
Not easy. At. All.
Next, the short synopsis – one paragraph for every sentence.
And then the long synopsis – three paragraphs to every one paragraph in the short version.
Honestly, this step kinda freaks me out. Fifteen paragraphs? It seems like climbing a mountain with my legs tied. I try my hardest to talk myself out of it. I don’t really need this. I’ve written a story before without it. Why waste time when you could be actually writing? In the past, I’ve listened to these arguments. And did fine.
But this time, I decided to it. And I’m glad I did. Connections were made. New secrets developed. And as better or different ideas came, I went back and revised.
Is this written perfectly? No. It’s just me getting my ideas down.
Is my synopsis cast in cement? Absolutely not. As I write the first draft, if new ideas come, I’ll go with them. But usually, I don’t stray too far.
So does following the Snowflake method appeal to you or totally turn you off? I’m sure if you’re a pantser your skin is crawling right about now. (Or you stopped reading a while ago.)
Plotting that way saves an awful lot of trouble later, and as it becomes clearer you see links as you’ve already noticing… good luck!
I’m a panster… I really want to try and be an outliner but when I’ve tried to outline stories in the past I end up getting a case of really bad writer’s blog which causes the story to sit sad on my writing desk.
Maybe I’ll try this though!
I’ve never tried the snowflake method. It sounds very organized and I’m sure once you’re done the writing comes easier. I’m certainly not a pantser. Just always written 1.- the idea / 2.- character outlines / 3. Main conflict /4. Scene blurbs. I add in or take out scenes for a while until it looks like it’ll be a smooth transition through the book leading up to the climax and afterward. Then I write the book following the outline (but things are bound to change)
I’ve never tried the snowflake method. It sounds very organized and I’m sure once you’re done the writing comes easier. I’m certainly not a pantser. Just always written 1.- the idea 2.- character outlines 3. Main conflict 4. Scene blurbs. I add in or take out scenes for a while until it looks like it’ll be a smooth transition through the book leading up to the climax and afterward. Then I write the book following the outline (but things are bound to change)
I didn’t stop reading, but I admit that it sounds stressful. Like, I think I’d pull my hair out if I tried this method.
Carole – And yes that’s why I do it, so the writing comes easier.
Jen – It’s okay if you’re not an outliner. If I try and pants that’s when I sit staring at a blank computer screen. I thrive within structure. And realize that when I sit down to snowflake I already know my story and my plotpoint. The snowflake methods helps me make connections and flesh it out. I would never just sit down to write a logline with out a lot of dreaming and notebook scribbling first.
Katie – That’s what I usally do.
Angela – I knew this method would scare off pantsers. We have to write how our brain works.
The snowflake method does appeal to me! and I do use a little of it–if that makes any sense. LOL
Although I’m a snowflaker, I go about it slightly differently when I write my outline. That’s when I’m more like a panster. I have a basic idea where the story is going, then I plot out the key points for each scene as I go (adjusting past points if need be). I don’t write one line sentences (or summaries) for each scene then go back to add the plot points.
Great post, Laura!
I’m a plotter, all the way. I’m probably going to try to incorporate some snowflake methods into my next WIP.
Thank you for doing these!
Jennifer and Stina – That’s what is so great. Anyone can use as much or as little of the snowflake or any outlining system as they want. We all work differently and have to work with how our brain works best!
I’m a plotter, so I’m on board for giving the Snowflake Method a try!
Laura, I’ve tried starting with the Snowflake method, but never made it as far as you have, even though I see the value in it. I’m glad to here how successful it can be. Maybe I’ll try it again next time and stick with it. By the way, I took up the challenge you left me over on my blog! Thanks for the push!
Laura – I haven’t always made it the whole way through.
Andread – I think I’m spending more time on the plotting because I’m a tiny bit afraid to ruin the perfect story that’s in my mind. Or I want to do everything I can not to ruin it. But I’m 3K into it, so too late! 🙂
I think this method is excellent preparation for NaNoWriMo – and I’m planning on using it. But it DOES sound a little scary, and hard. And I think you also have to spend some serious time on your characters outside of this method.
I totally need to do this next time around. Thanks for breaking it down.
I’ve stopped too soon before as well–I need to push it forward this time! Great post!
I’ve pledged to plot my way (like this, or something similar) through my next novel. In fact, I reverse-engineered my WIP that I’m editing, the same way, and I really wish I had done it beforehand.
Good luck! I’ll let you know how caging my inner pantser works out. 🙂
Susan – Let me know how it works for you.
Kris – I know you’ve used this system before.
Margo – Yes, there is a section devoted to characters and I’ll talk about that next week!
I have heard of this, but this is the first time I’ve read how to actually do it. I’m a part-panster, but I’m also always open to trying new things. I might give this a go. Thanks!
Umm … this doesn’t scare me, but it doesn’t really seem like something I want to do either. I’ve heard of the snowflake method, but have never tried it myself.
I wrote my first novel last year and just … I knew the story, I didn’t need someone else telling me how it should be unfolding (the whole act thing and were bad things should be placed).
I outline by coming up with chapter titles. Then I’ll write a sentence for each chapter. I may add or move around chapters as I go, but that’s my outline. And I’ve found that it gives me just enough structure, but also allows me the freedom to connect the dots as I’m going. Plus, I found that I follow the traditional model of how a story should unfold without ever thinking about it consciously — it’s something I can do instinctively while writing.