Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowflake Pro

Earlier this week I was googling for help with novel plotting because I was stuck. I wanted some way to organize everything, keep my characters lined up, and figure out what the core of my novel really was. I knew, sort of, what I wanted, but it was all nebulous. Which is why I kept writing and re-writing the first 50 pages. I was pretty happy with what I've written this past month (about a hundred pages), but I still didn't know if it was good enough. I didn't know if it made sense, or if the plot was too cliche, or too confusing, or too....crappy. Plus, I was stuck.

Well, while I was googling, I came across a site describing the Snowflake Method. I read it, liked it, and then discovered that the man who came up with is also a physicist (awesome!) and a computer software developer, not to mention a novelist. So I took a look at his program he had for sale, and after the initial sticker shock, ordered it. (He offers a 50% discount if you buy his Novel Writing for Dummies book.) Yes, it was expensive. Yes, my husband looked at me like that when I told him. But but but! It seems to be working! I have organized my novel already! I have written a one-liner that gets right to the core of my novel. I have written a short synopsis that makes describing the novel to random strangers much easier (have you ever had the deer in the headlights look when someone asks you what your novel is about??). I have expanded that into a page-long synopsis detailing the novel. I have figured out the point of each character (what he/she wants, what is their downfall, what is their saving grace, what they are like) and then described the story from each point of view (which was amazingly helpful and I wish I'd thought of it sooner). I am just about to expand my page-long synopsis into a four-page synopsis. Next, I will outline each scene.

You could do all of this without the software, of course, but it's just so cool. Used in conjunction with Scrivener, I will be banging this thing out in no time, and when I'm done, it'll make sense.

By the way, I was able to see Tamora Pierce speak at a fundraiser in my neighborhood this weekend, and she was fabulous. There were only about twenty people there, including Bruce Coville, who is always nice each time I see him. (I run into him in public places here! It's like living in Hollywood, except that it's Syracuse and he's not an actor!) Tamora Pierce spoke about how, like a buckaneer, she pillages the great works of the ancients, the ideas that have been passed down, and all she sees around her to build her worlds and stories. She is an awesome, talented writer!

Bruce Coville made my day because at first he didn't recognize me (we've only met twice before, so I wasn't expecting him to recognize me anyway) and then he said he thought I was one of the high school students. (Gasp! Squee!) I'm sure he was just being nice, but it sure made me feel great for the rest of the day. And the next day. And today. :-)

Having these two brilliant authors for neighbors is wonderful. I hope I'll be able to tell them I've sold a book the next time I see them!

15 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

Hey, I purchased Snowflake pro when Randy first put it out, so it was a really good deal. And just yesterday, I started with my new story idea in it. I think I'm going to like it. I receive his ezine too. He's a great teacher. Glad you liked it!

Jen said...

Hmmm this sounds like a really good idea!!! I'll keep it in mind!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

The Snowflake method sounds really interesting - I'll have to google it.

Tamora Pierce and Bruce Colville?! Jealous! :-)

Jacqui said...

Because I am cheap, I did not but the software, but I did copy down (by hand) the steps he put out for free. Very helpful stuff.

Kelly said...

Wow! You do have some cool neighbors. The nearest author to me is the kid that carves Spongebob Rulz on the school desk.
That Snowflake method sounds very intriguing...

Amber Lough said...

Well, they're my neighbors in that they live in the same neighborhood...still blocks away, of course! The Full Cast Audio office is along the way to my local library, and whenever I pass it by, I think of him, working away. I hope that someday, I'll be able to say I've sold a book!

Jacqui, you are smart. Copying down the info is all that's needed. I was just aching for new software, I guess (which I am so in love with, btw).

Christina Farley said...

I'm so interested in this snowflake method. And WOW! You really are living in Hollywood. Just a little colder and without the palms.

Xjaeva said...

I got sucked into reading the snowflake method and all the things he says along with it!
And while $100 is a bit pricy I would consider buying it.

Mary Witzl said...

I'm a cheapskate too: I did what Jacqui did. Knowing what makes your characters tick is absolutely vital. Being able to give a succinct description of your story is a huge thing, and so far it has eluded me. I get cold sweats just picturing myself at a pitch session having been asked The Question.

Lisa Marie Miles said...

I forgot about this method. Thanks for the post!

Vijaya said...

Another cheapskate here, but I love Randy's snowflake method. I'm glad you're all organized. I should put my WIP through the paces. I'm in the middle and so much needs to happen. Wah!

Jonathon Arntson said...

OMG, I was just going through my spam folder in my Gmail and found a gold start from you! I feel so bad.

I started using the snowflake method a couple weeks ago and have liked it so far. I am a little stuck at the moment, but the exercises are amazing. I'd be willing to share my results of steps 1 & 2 with you over email, gimme a shout.

Anissa said...

The Snowflake method sound intriguing. I'll have to check it out. And I have to say I loved the video of your monster child. I think we all have one of those at times...

Christine Danek said...

I have heard of this and will check it out. Thanks!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Hey, did you buy the whole program? if so, what're your thoughts.