How To Write A Novel With The Snowflake Method

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

There are so many methods for writing your novel from Story Genius, Save the Cat, to the oldie 3-ACT Structure. There is no ONE right way. Whatever works best for you, is the RIGHT WAY to write a book. So I wanted to share about writing a novel with the Snowflake Method, by author and physicist Randy Ingermanson. He's brilliant to have created such a visual journey to creating your book.

I've really loved the Snowflake Method and have paired it with other methods such as Save The Cat. They work so well together.

Let's Go Over The Snowflake Method Basics Here

You can go over to Randy Ingermanson's website for a deeper dive on the Snowflake Method, but I'll take you through the steps that he covers just as a basic sneak peek. (Check out his original article when he describes it in great detail.)

1. Write your 1-sentence summary of your book.

And make sure that you keep it to one sentence. (I know this is hard.) For help on this, be sure to check out the summaries of movies and TV shows on Netflix and also the NYTs Bestseller's list.

2. Expand your 1-sentence summary into a full paragraph summary. You can even use your paragraph summary in a proposal if you like.

I like to structure a story as "three disasters plus an ending". - Randy Ingermanson

Randy also says, "If you believe in the Three-Act structure, then the first disaster corresponds to the end of Act 1. The second disaster is the mid-point of Act 2. The third disaster is the end of Act 2, and forces Act 3 which wraps things up."

3. Your character details (You'll want this for each of the characters in your book)

This is a good time to know your character name, make sure you write a 1-sentence summary of your character's arc, character's motivation (what do they want theoretically?), character's goal (what they want concretely), Character's conflict? (What is going to prevent your character from reaching said goal), character's epiphany (what will they learn? And how will they change?), and last but not least the 1-paragraph summary of the character's arc.

4. Expand each sentence in your paragraph summary into a full paragraph.

"All but the last paragraph should end in disaster." - Randy Ingermanson

5. Your one-page description of each major character

For your minor characters you can create a half page description for them.

6. Expand your one-page summary into a 4-page synopsis.

Each paragraph will then be expanded into a whole page.

7. Expand character descriptions into charts

With all your character information, now you can create charts if you want to. For more on this, see Randy's article.

8.Scene Spreadsheet

Last but not least, you can take all your information and combine it into a spreadsheet to keep track of scenes and characters.

9. Write a narrative description of your story, which is basically a long synopsis with a description of each scene from the spreadsheet.

Gary says this is an optional step, but I just wanted to let ya know what this step includes in case you want to do this step as well.

"Take each line of the spreadsheet and expand it to a multi-paragraph description of the scene. Put in any cool lines of dialogue you think of, and sketch out the essential conflict of that scene. If there’s no conflict, you’ll know it here and you should either add conflict or scrub the scene." - Gary Ingermanson

By the end he ended up with a 50-page printed out document he could begin working with. If you want more information about this step, be sure to check out Gary's page on this.

10. Begin Writing!!

At some point, you’ve got to actually write the novel. - Randy Ingermanson

For me I'll be doing steps 1-7.

How I'm Using The Snowflake Method With Project Mistletoe

Project Mistletoe is already written, but I wanted to go over it again here with you all, before it's released as a serial later this year. I'm so excited!

Here's me working through Project Mistletoe:

If you like the articles I'm sharing, be sure to sign up for my email club, where you'll be alerted of new articles, videos, and more.

P.S. Be sure to watch the video interview with the Snowflake Method Genius, Randy Ingermanson himself, which will be going live on my YouTube channel next Friday.

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