Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday writing: Snowflake method

I love writing.  When I was a kid, I was always creating original stories that my friends, sister, and I would then act out.  I usually played the main character or one of the main character, and sometimes, that main character was male!  It didn't matter to me.  I loved all of my characters.

I didn't really start actually writing any of my stories until I learned to type in third grade, and even then, I didn't really write anything until my parents bought our second decent computer, a Windows 98 (the first being a very tiny Windows 95).  I mostly only wrote short stories, and I still have all of them saved.  I wrote a few stories in my notebooks (I used to carry a notebook everywhere), but I preferred typing them as it was easier to edit them, easier to read, and certainly easier to keep track of and keep in good condition.

I eventually moved on to writing novels which is of course a more time-consuming process that requires more dedication and motivation.  My first novel that I completed was a Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon fanfic, but I did eventually move on to original fiction.  I was able to complete my fanfiction quickly as I had a friend to exchange fanfics with, so it was exciting to write for her and then to read whatever she gave me every week or so.  With my original fiction, I am far more private, and so I have no one to exchange them with and therefore no "deadlines" to help me finish them.

One method that has helped me is called the "snowflake method."  Created by a writer named Randy Ingermanson, it is basically a method that has you start with the most basic skeleton of the story and then expand on, like a snowflake starting simply in the middle and then getting more complex as it branches.

When using the method, I typically follow the first five steps, but on the last five steps, I kind of do my own thing.  I follow some parts of it and leave out parts that I don't think are necessary for me to do personally.  I find that after the first five steps, I'm pretty much ready to begin the actual novel.  The characters develop for me as I write.  When I write, I put in a lot of unnecessary dialogue and scenes which help me to better understand my characters.  In the final draft, I remove these unnecessary parts, but the character remains fully developed.

 A full description of the method can be found here: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/.  Ultimately, the idea is to help you become familiar with the entire story before you sit down and actually write it.  It can be very difficult to write a story when you don't know what's coming next.  I do believe that planning is an important part of good novel writing!  Otherwise, it is very likely that you will end up with inconsistencies or nonsensical plot points.

I'm working on a couple of novels right now.  I hope to get them published someday, though I greatly fear rejection.  The snowflake method has helped me accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.  I would recommend that all new writers at least try it out!

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