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?

Marketing is Farming, Not Hunting

Very informative post. I love the Farming analogy. Most excellent article.

Chris Fox Writes

Writing a novel is an immense undertaking, and before you finish it you think it’s the most daunting thing you’ll ever do. Then you DO finish it, and suddenly you need to figure out how to get people to read it.

Before long you realize you need to learn this strange sorcery called marketing, so you start asking around, reading blog posts, and digesting anything else you think will help. Then you start posting ‘look I wrote a book’ to Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else you think people might see it.

People throw rotten tomatoes, and you quickly retreat back into your introvert shell. You realize that all the Facebook groups you joined are full of other people like you who are also yelling BUY MY BOOK as loudly as possible.

The method described above is the hunting approach. Your prey are readers, and you are stalking them through the…

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