Adapting the Snowflake Method

Yesterday, I wrote a brief post about the Snowflake Method and how it compares with what I do now. I had some interesting responses (I’ll get to those comments as soon as I can), mostly not in favour of this method. Fair enough. It doesn’t work for everyone, but no one works the same. However, I didn’t have enough time to get into what I wanted to talk about, which is how I can use some aspects of the Snowflake Method in my own outlining process.

Before I get into that, I want to remind everyone that the way I think tends to be very logical, methodical, and thorough. I love planning things, making lists, and all kinds of reference tables and notes. I like to keep my thoughts and ideas organised. Often, they’re in my head, but when I can, I put them down on paper or on my computer. Although I can be spontaneous (I often am with going out and exploring places), I prefer to have everything planned out so I know exactly what to expect. I may not get everything done, but I have a goal to work toward.

Many aspects of the Snowflake Method appeal to me because of the way I think. Expanding the points from one sentence to a paragraph, then expanding each of those sentences to another paragraph is actually how I plan in my mind. Not always on paper, but I do think this way. I like the spreadsheet idea, and I think I’ll incorporate that into my outlining process. I also like having character profiles. I want to be able to be consistent within the story with respect to the characters’ personalities, appearance, and interests. I also like the idea about writing each character’s story synopsis. Taking this a bit further, I’d like to chart out a kind of web to see how each character’s individual story intersects with others’. This is extremely useful for more complex stories that have subplots and several different points of view. Each character has a separate story, but weaving them together and keeping in mind what’s happening at all times will help with consistency. And I also won’t forget about characters. That the danger with a larger cast.

While I won’t be doing the Snowflake Method exactly how he describes it, I will take the parts I like. I don’t think this will be too restrictive or take away spontaneity. I’ve done outlines before where the characters begin to take the story in a slightly different direction, and that’s fine. That’s one of the things I like about writing. It may not completely fit the outline, but I can adapt it. I can change things further down the line and make it work. I just don’t want to be a pantser. I find I lack direction when I do that. I could write like that, but a conclusion may never come. It’s not for me. I tend to do that for blog posts, though.

Any thoughts? Anyone think in a similar way? Or are you completely different? Let me know in the comments.


9 thoughts on “Adapting the Snowflake Method”

  1. I am a planner. I like to have everything organized when I start a long story. This would be too much effort for just blogs but entirely different for stories. I sometimes create pages of notes on a single character alone. So I could see myself using parts of this method as well.

      1. The story I did that for is planned. It’s probably enough planning to turn it into a book. But that was a few years ago and it’s still in outline form. Haven’t written anything yet.

            1. Any guess about how many you have? Like I said, I have 3, though I some are more well-thought out than others. For one, I have brief summaries of each book. I even have the first scene of book 1 written.

            2. Well, you have ideas to go to when you need to. I’m thinking about making a post tonight about my story ideas, but only giving a single sentence summary about each one. That’s the start of the snowflake method, actually 🙂

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