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John Futch

Snowflake Method?

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Curious to hear feedback from those who've tried Ingermanson's popular snowflake method. Also curious about how you've adapted it or tweaked it to your own personal style. How does it compare with other plot and structure methods/books? I've read Ingermanson's book and really liked it, and I'm putting together a book outline using the method, but still would love to hear some dos/don'ts from those who've tried it...

 

God bless!

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I've used the Snowflake Method. I have the book and the software, so I think I know it pretty well.

 

I also use a few other methods because they help trigger different parts of my creative process. Lisa Cron's Story Genius, KM Weiland's Character Arcs and, to a lesser extent, her Outline Your Novel all feed into my thinking when I'm creating a story.

 

Story Genius helps me to focus on characters first, so that whatever plot I come up with is serving my story and not the other way around. Once I have a strong handle on my characters and what their story is going to be, I find the Snowflake Method useful in making sure the story fits into the traditional three-act structure, so that things are happening where they need to be and, for example, I don't have the story climax at the halfway point.

 

Meanwhile, I keep checking the plot alongside KM Weiland's Character Arcs so that I can be sure that my characters are growing (or regressing) in a journey that roughly corresponds to the three-act structure.

 

When I'm down to the scene-by-scene level of my outlining, I use Story Genius again to try and make sure that each scene is moving the story forward.

 

I also want to have a look at The Story Grid which I've had for a long time but haven't yet read. Thanks to @Johne's many linked articles about that particular method, I want to study it as well to see if it can improve my storytelling.

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Wow, great info. Thank you!

I'm not familiar with the resources you mentioned, but I'm excited to explore them. It does sound like they'd be helpful for me. I like being a pantser but I don't trust my pantserness, so I need to plan a bit to make sure I don't end up with a total mess!

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You're welcome! You'll probably find that you'll develop your own system that's a mashup of a lot of different approaches. You might even end up only planning very loosely, just enough to make sure you've got a solid story.

Edited by EBraten
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Hey, John! I hope you'll hop over to Meet and Greet and introduce yourself so everyone will know you are here and can welcome you. :D

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Thanks for this question-answer thread. There is so much I want to learn - at once:/  It can feel overwhelming. I appreciate hearing your perspective EBraten.

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4 hours ago, John Futch said:

I like being a pantser but I don't trust my pantserness, so I need to plan a bit to make sure I don't end up with a total mess!


Hey, John! I'm a reformed Pantser myself. My story is pretty typical - I've competed (and won) NaNoWriMo twice, once in 2004 and again in 2014. I'd been working on trying to polish the latter novel up for publication and was stuck trying to write this big battle sequence to finish the novel but it wasn't working - there was no air for it. In May 2018 I signed up for the Story Grid University class called Level Up Your Craft and stuff started to shake free. I'd already bought the Story Grid book when it was released in 2015 but when it arrived, I cracked the book open, was immediately overwhelmed by its apparent complexity, and my little Pantser heart fainted and I shut the book and didn't look at it again. But I realized that the SG course sort of assumed I was familiar with the book so I dug it out and forced myself to go through it.

I've been reading writing HOWTO books since 2003 and I've never found anything remotely as practical and helpful as the Story Grid book. It's a deep dive into the foundational elements under-the-hood for any story. By the third chapter of the Part 2 I learned that the reason my novel was stalled was really simple - I'd already written a climax scene and was trying to force a 4th act on what was already a working three act novel. I moved that scene out and, viola!, the novel fell into place. (Furthermore, I was trying to write an Action finale for a Thriller novel and my creative subconscious thrill its arms up and said essentially 'go home, writer - you're drunk.')

The primary virtue of the Story Grid is in after-action analysis but knowing what I know now, I'm having a blast plotting out my second novel using Story Grid principles and it's making my work 1000x easier. I wrote a post a couple of days about how answering the editor's six core questions can really kickstart your novel.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Carolyn W said:

There is so much I want to learn - at once:/

I hear you. I have a list as long as my arm of story and and writing craft topics which I feel like I should be studying right now!

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If I ever catch up so I have the time, I have a couple jillion files in my computer under the folder name "Writing Advice." Someday I hope to actually read some of them.

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11 hours ago, Johne said:

I've never found anything remotely as practical and helpful as the Story Grid book.

This is awesome! Thank you. I'll definitely dig into this :)

 

John

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The Save the Cat! method was first proposed as a screenwriting aid. It worked so well for many writers that it was adapted for novelists.

 

I'm experimenting with a "decision tree" diagram for major archetypal characters. I'll let you know how it turns out on my NaNoWriMo project.

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