If you're a novelist, chances are you've heard of The Snowflake Method, Randy Ingermanson's proven suggestion for design and creation of a novel. I'd heard of it myself, but had never done much to check it out. Until over the weekend, anyway, when the new year and writerly goals hung all around me like so much... well, snow.
I have two novels-in-progress now, would you believe? (Would you think me crazy?) There's A Gradual Goodbye, near first-draft completion, that I've shared snatches of here and there. I'd wanted to finish by Christmas, but holiday demands were so full and draining, I couldn't. But I'm close, ready to just push on through.
The newest WIP, tentatively titled Celebration, is the one for which this character wouldn't let me rest. The voice became too loud, too strong, to sate with jotted notes in my notebook, so I swallowed doubt over starting another and cannonballed in. I wrote 9 pages and 2300 words in one afternoon, so I know that was the right thing to have done.
But this leaves me with two projects, see? As if it's not overwhelming enough to have one unfinished manuscript. And with the very real need to complete both stories, with no delay, I knew I had to try something more formal than my standard wing it method. Maybe I could give outlining--even if on some very small level--a try. That's why I began some online research, and it's how I gave The Snowflake Method a real-good looksee.
I haven't committed to the complete method. I relish the creative freedom that comes with flying by the seat of my pants as I write. I fear full outlines and formal formats would hinder me. But as I read down Randy's suggestions, Step 3 highlighted seven very crucial points (follow link and scroll). These are points any writer should work through (and revisit) as they craft a novel. (Randy recommends filing the info for each character, but I've found it incredibly helpful with just my protagonist.)
1) The character's name
2) A one-sentence summary of the character's storyline
3) The character's motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
4) The character's goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
5) The character's conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
6) The character's epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?
7) A one-paragraph summary of the character's storyline
I think spending some time addressing these key points will help me keep both my protagonists and their stories straight, and ensure I'm headed in the right direction with each. I hope for that, at the very least.
Have you tried The Snowflake Method? Tell me about your level of success.
Do you think the points listed above would be helpful to you?
What about other methods?