February 5, 2010

Snowmageddon Methodology

Posted in Tools of the Trade at 8:54 am by jajohnson7

If, like me, you are going to be snowed in this weekend, take advantage of the time and get some snow-inspired outlining and writing done. I am, of course, referring to the Snowflake Method.

The Snowflake Method helps the writer build and organize their novel from the ground up. Conceptually, the process looks something like this:

Snowflake Iteration 1 Snowflake Iteration 2 Snowflake Iteration 3 Snowflake Iteration 4

By the last step, you have a “snowflake” made up of all the information you need to get writing constructively. In this process, you start with one broad sentence, and end up with several pages of details. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of time, but which one of those do you have the most of this weekend?

I used this method for my NaNoWriMo novel and it worked so well. I went from having a vague notion of how to get from A to Z to having an outline which, while not as detailed as it could have been, provided me with a solid framework with which to write. It gave me the structure of a story arc, but allowed me the chance to embellish as I wrote. It even helped me with character developments/arcs.

Granted, it doesn’t work for everyone. But I plan on re-visiting it to help me figure out where to go with my current Project. (I finally have a beginning, but what then?) Try it, and see what happens!

[Excellent! I managed to refrain from making the joke that just as every snowflake is unique, so is every nov –

– crap.]



  1. Ooh, the link goes to “Advanced Fiction Writing” techniques. I don’t know if I’m there yet!

    When you said, “the snowflake method” and before I clicked the link, I thought it would be like make a bubble chart. Where you write a characters name in one bubble, and write bubbles with descriptions all around it, and attach them with lines. (Having a hard time explaining but it looks like this – http://www.neatorama.com/2009/12/14/diagram-of-geek-culture/ That looks more like a snowflake to me.)

    • jajohnson7 said,

      Oh dear, I hated those diagrams!

      I have updated the post to show you what the snowflake would look like at its various stages. Hope that clears up any future confusion!

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