Well, I am writing to you from January 27th to update you on “The Snowflake Method”.
I have chosen a project to Snowflake and I’ve completed steps 0, 1, and 2 so far. I am going to get started on step 3 today before I go to sleep and since I just told myself that I am going to stay away from Facebook and Tumblr for the time being (except to peek at cute photos of my nephews!) I will probably get started on step 4 when I wake up this evening.
So, how is it going, so far?
That’s an interesting question, because it is at once AWESOME and awful.
Step 0 is the easiest; it is really just a prequel to the real steps. It asks you to sit down and decide several important, basic things about the novel you are writing (or whatever kind of piece you’re doing… non-fiction, essay, memoir).
- The category your story/book fits into
- The kind of story you want to write
- The intended, target audience
Obviously, my genre of choice is usually fantasy (though I dabble). In this case, I categorized the novel as an epic, political fantasy. That seems to fit. There will be some magic, a lot of intrigue, a broad range of characters, and political maneuverings on a backdrop of bloody war.
The kind of story? Well, I want it to be thrilling and touching, I want it to say something about the modern world but to also be escapist. I want it to be gripping and heartfelt.
And the target audience? Fans of political fantasy between ages 25 and 50? I don’t know really, how to specify that. But the book put forth the idea that you could write for one person – a super niche audience. Who would I write this for? Someone like me, who enjoys a thick book filled with a multitude of characters, spanning years even, with political intrigue and bloody battles and feats of magic and heroism and love winning over all (or not, we’ll see).
Step 1 is more difficult than it sounds at first. You’re supposed to write a single “tagline” type sentence, less than twenty-five words, that you can repeat ad naseum to tell people about it. They should know, within that span, if they are in your target audience or not.
I won’t post mine here, for various reasons, but I actually got one I was happy with on the first try. All subsequent attempts were rather… shittier.
Step 2 is only supposed to take one hour, but I guarantee you I spent longer on those five sentences. You see, I found it terrifically difficult to cut away all the subplots and twists and turns that I have pre-planned in my head, and just reveal the bones of the story. The basic structure of the three acts. An opening sentence that gives the backdrop and a couple main characters/villains/factions. Then Act I, up to the “first disaster”, then the first half of Act II, then the second half of Act II, and finally Act III and the final showdown.
In this case, once I pared it down to the most basic bits, I was like – what the hell IS this story? I barely recognized it as my own. It seemed painfully generic in some ways. But then, when I re-read my sentences aloud to Mark, I thought, “Oh wow! This is actually rather amazeballs!” Mark was excited. I was excited.
And now that I’ve got a little momentum going, I’m off to work on Step 4!
Wish me luck!
Note: Image is “TSFM” by Me