Meta Monday: The Snowflake Method

MetaMondays5I’m a dedicated outliner. Not saying I’ve never pantsed my way through a story, but things work out better when I think long and hard about the characters and plot before I start chapter one.

Outlining is one thing, however—organized outlining is something else. I’m tired of the mess of scribbles and jottings I’ve used thus far! So I’ve decided to try out Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method for the next novel I’m writing from scratch. (Check out the details here on Randy’s page.)

It’s called the Snowflake Method because—um, actually I don’t really understand why it’s called that. Somehow or other it’s supposed to represent a snowflake. For me, though, it’s just a thorough ten-step outline.

I’ve already completed the first and second steps. I’m hard at work on the third. So I’ve got  my one sentence summary, my one paragraph summary, and now I’m working up a one-page summary sheet for each of the three main characters. So far, so good. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Full disclosure: I’ve used aspects of the Snowflake Method before, but I’ve never followed the whole thing faithfully. So here’s my chance to see how if it works for me from start to finish.

If you’re a pantser, are there any steps of the Snowflake Method that are nonetheless attractive to you? Or do you just jump to the keyboard and let the words of the story flow? And if you’re an outliner, have you ever tried this method before? How did it work out for you? Do you have another method you’re already wed to, or are you still experimenting? I appreciate any comments on this!

About Jenn Moss

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8 Responses to Meta Monday: The Snowflake Method

  1. J.R. Handley says:

    Good luck!! Ultimately, whatever works for you outline wise is what works. I just do scene headers and bullets of where the scene will go and boom, done. I do have broad view understanding but I don’t bother writing that down unless I’m outlining a project that I wont be writing at the moment (shelving for later etc).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenn Moss says:

      Yes, I agree that different methods work for different writers, whether they’re pantsers or outliners or something in between. (I think headers and bullets falls in that in-between spot, depending.)

      Good point too about future projects. I usually start writing as soon as I finish my outline (and sometimes even before). I wouldn’t trust myself to put an outline aside with just the headers and bullets, but with a full Snowflake Method outline I might be able to, in case another project gets in the way.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Jiuhl says:

    I tried the snowflake method, and it worked for a while until I became bored with it. It began sucking the life from my story. Eventually, I gave it up. I try now to write the broad outline in six bullet points, 3 “Acts” I gleaned from watching different youtubes.

    1. Act 1=The Trigger
    2. Bottoms Out 1
    3. Act 2 = brief high
    4. Bottoms Out 2
    5. An Epiphany (This happens somewhere near the end and may or may not be stated.)
    6. Act 3: The Resolution

    Usually, I start writing before I have enough of an idea to summarize my six bullet points. But as soon as I have a vague idea, I pause to define these. This helps me keep from writing 100,000 words with no ending and no plot, which I CAN DO.

    When my writing wanders from these bullet points, I go back and massage the summaries or the story to make them logical again, and I keep doing that until I have the semblance of a story.

    The snowflake method became too tedious and restrictive to my imagination. I needed to have times when I could just write without sticking to the course. The briefer outline lets me do that without getting TOO far off track.

    You may get more mileage from it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jiuhl says:

      More mileage from the snowflake method, I mean. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jenn Moss says:

      Thanks so much, Jiuhl! This is exactly what I was looking for–someone else’s experience with the Snowflake Method, and any advantages or drawbacks they found.

      Sucking the life from your story is not good! But if a broad outline works better for you, than I can see why this wouldn’t be a good match. I’m at the point where I feel my outlines have been too broad, and I’m looking to tighten them up and dive into more detail.

      The structure you’ve outlined here should do nicely for a broad outline. And it sounds like you’re willing to go back and forth between writing and massaging that outline–which is what I did for my last story, Crevlock Tower. (Wow, there was so much massaging! And I got kinda frantic about it.)

      Anyway, thanks again for sharing your experiences! This was really helpful.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Novel Sculpting | Michael Seidel, writer

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