Repost from my old blog. I’ve finished a few books since then and this is still how I plot, more or less.
The Snowflake Method
I am a girl in need of a plan. My book requires a second in the series. I have most of my characters, my theme, setting, and I know the message I want to convey. It’s time to plot the story.
Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method of Plotting always looked interesting. I thought I’d give it a try. My previous approach had been to use massive amounts of note cards and tape them to the walls, shuffling and adding to them periodically. This worked fine, but it seemed a bit random and tedious to me.
Many writers have been helped by plotting with The Snowflake Method. The method has been so popular and worked for so many that now you can buy Snowflake Pro software or his book How To Write A Novel Using The Snowflake Method but he still provides the original article free of charge. (Thank you, Randy Ingermanson!)
From the get go he says to take what you can use and don’t worry about the rest, but something in me wants to follow lists. I want to know the plan.
I have looked at his directions before. I usually got bogged down about halfway through reading and would give up before I started. Since then I have learned that for me, with some projects, I need to just go ahead and jump in. It’s hard because I tend to want all the details ironed out before I commit. If I can’t see the end I don’t like starting down that path.
I got through steps one to four with no trouble. It was fun and easy. Then, when I started on the next step, parts of story began to pop into my head so I started making a list of scenes before they got away. Randy Ingermanson suggests using a spreadsheet for your list of scenes, but I started the list in the same document I was putting everything else in. I didn’t want to forget what I needed to write while trying to figure out a spreadsheet. I was already out of order with the Snowflake Method instructions anyway.
So far I have a decent direction for the story, more than I had when I started writing the first book in my series. This method helped me figure out holes before I started writing the novel, even if I made adjustments to the system early on.
I’m not sure if I will be able to go back and pick up with the rest of The Snowflake Method from where I’m at right now with this book. I will try The Snowflake Method again, though, of that I am sure.
Will my plot work out even though I’m deviating from my originally intended mode? Probably. Would it work better or easier if I follow directions? I don’t know. Did I ruin it? I don’t think so.
Just Write, Create, Jump In
The point is, I am writing my own story. I got a jump start from suggestions and tools, but it’s okay if I take another route. I know I will make it to the end.
Life is like that. Don’t be scared to be a little creative with the format and structure of approaches as long as you stay true to the course. You are not going to ruin it.
It’s your story. You know how to tell it.
P. S. The Paper Snowflake Ballerina
The directions for the snowflake ballerina in the picture can be found at krokotak, but there is no printable template for the skirt. There are pictures. I eyeballed the designs and took a stab at it and it worked fine. You can’t let a little thing like a missing template stop you.
Did this encourage you? Please share it! Have you made adjustments to a plan recently? How did it go? I’d love to hear from you. Comment below.