From Troubled Beginnings

The Snowflake Method (TM) has detoured slightly. I’ve probably hit step 5 when I got really bored of just expanding on everything I’d already done. A sentence was fine, a paragraph was okay but knocking onto four pages was a bit of a step too far. I was wondering if I had to detail when each character sneezes once I’d got to the third page. I’ve done the part where you have to break the story into paragraphs with a disaster at the end of each. This has probably given me a much greater idea of the overall story and how to work towards what I hope is going to be a satisfactory ending.

One big problem I had was that I was reluctant initially to introduce the more ‘strange’ parts of the story. I was still in screen mode thinking that this would be expensive and might ‘not look good’. It took me a bizarre amount of time to click that it doesn’t really matter. I can pretty much do anything. Beforehand there was a resistance to go into realms of ghost or aliens as I thought it needed to be more grounded in reality. Then I remembered the fact that I have a dead ten year old returning right at the start. Reality be damned, let’s ride with the weird stuff.

Another thing I’m enjoying about all of this? The fact that what I write will be there for all to read. When I’m writing scripts for the screen there’s always part of me not really going at it 100% because there’s a high chance that nobody will want to make it and it’ll sit gathering dust. Having the ability to shape your own story directly is a very powerful driver.

Write Outwards

For absolute curiosity I typed ‘How to plan a novel’ into Google and the first thing it chucks back at me is The Snowflake Method. Despite being aware of the current negative use of the word ‘snowflake’ on the internet I read the article through. It’s actually provided me with a lot to think about whilst getting the structure together for the novel.

For those not wanting to go through the full depths of the link above the basic method is to start with a fifteen word sentence about your story and then work outwards. Taking each section of expanding it bit by bit until it grows and fills any gaps you may have had to begin with. It’s apparently the same method as writing software programmes. I can only imagine the bug testing that might have to go on afterwards though.

The start of the process, writing the one sentence summary of your story, took me about three attempts until I got something that I felt comfortable with. For the last couple of nights I’ve been writing up the three main characters. Having a full page in a notebook with their goals and obstacles clearly marked is something of an eye opener. Once again I fear I’ve fallen into my trap of having a cracking premise for an opening but not really knowing how to end it all in a satisfactory manner. I’m knocking through it though, there’s certainly something there.