The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel

I don’t usually use an outline when writing my books but I found this really neat method I’d like to try. While I can’t say I’ll stick to it like glue, it looks like something that will help me to organize my thoughts without the confusion. For my next project I’ll be using The Snowflake Method. Click Here to check it out. After your reading, research, and daydreaming is done (when you have an idea of what the story is about), here is Step #1 from the article:

Step 1) Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your novel. Something like this: “A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul.” (This is the summary for my first novel, Transgression.) The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture.

When you later write your book proposal, this sentence should appear very early in the proposal. It’s the hook that will sell your book to your editor, to your committee, to the sales force, to bookstore owners, and ultimately to readers. So make the best one you can!

Some hints on what makes a good sentence:

  • Shorter is better. Try for fewer than 15 words.
  • No character names, please! Better to say “a handicapped trapeze artist” than “Jane Doe”.
  • Tie together the big picture and the personal picture. Which character has the most to lose in this story? Now tell me what he or she wants to win.
  • Read the one-line blurbs on the New York Times Bestseller list to learn how to do this. Writing a one-sentence description is an art form.

Another important point: It doesn’t have to be perfect. The purpose of each step in the design process is to advance you to the next step. Keep your forward momentum! You can always come back later and fix it when you understand the story better. You will do this too, unless you’re a lot smarter than I am.

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Sounds exciting! There is also a book which you can find here. Are you writing a book? Share the method to your madness! How do you stay organized?

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10 thoughts on “The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel

  1. I have literally no method. It’s shameful. I write something on a post it note, then loose it. I write it in a notebook, then put the notebook in a drawer and forget about it. How I ever sat down and finished a draft…I have no idea! I do like the idea of trying to sum it up in one sentence though, I think I’ll give it a try!

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    1. I don’t think no method is shameful. Before finding this I didn’t have a method either lol. I don’t like outlines and all that. To me its confusing. I need the freedom to sit down and just write. This is the first time I’m attempting to use some kind of organized method. I decided to do this because I haven’t wrote a full length novel in years (my recent works are short stories) and I can’t rely solely on my memory! I like how this method divides your time into hours. I can do a step an hour a day to help keep my thoughts organized.

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  2. This is definitely worth trying. My process is to write my first draft as fast as possible (ninety days or less). Then revise each edit until it flows perfectly. Unfortunately, this method took me three years to develop the story in my first book. Hoping my second doesn’t take nearly as long. Hoping to at least have an idea of where I’m going when I write the first draft. I think this snowflake method will be helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, I write the same way but then I got stuck on direction for this novel I’m working on so I looked into this method. So far its helping me to move along. I like the idea of steps. I think you’ll like it.

      Liked by 1 person

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