Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Snowflake Method for Novels...and short stories

I really like the ideas presented as the Snowflake Method for writing novels. I've been trying to apply them in my own short story writing over the last year. The chief thing I've learned is the importance of developing a very clear idea of what your story is about before setting out to write it...but it's a subtle point. I find I have to experiment a little and do a little writing first.

The best thing to take away from the Snowflake idea, I think, is the concept of interwoven character story lines. You start by creating a storyline for your main viewpoint character, giving that storyline a beginning, several problems/solutions, and a conclusion. Then you do the same thing for all your other major characters, and you look for ways to weave them together. You actively consider the story from the point of view of your antagonist, for example, and make sure that character's actions form a story from his perspective. This is the most valuable technique I've gleaned from the method.

Like a lot of techniques and methods, I'm not following the Snowflake slavishly. It takes novel design to an incredible level of detail. I hope to get there at some point.

I bumped into these ideas from commentary on the National Novel Writing Month website. I love the NaNoWriMo idea. I did it in 2004 and had a blast doing it; I was very proud of completing my 50,000 words of inchoherant prose.

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