Book Reviews, Life After Forty, Random Ramblings, Writing

44 Years in Month #4

Happy Birthday to me!

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Birthday flowers from my sister!

Today is my birthday and it feels like a milestone has been reached. It’s the fourth month of the year and I am 44-years-old. How cool is that?

So what have I been up to? I took a break from writing, but now I’m back at it. I bought a copy of Randy Ingermanson’s book: How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method. I really enjoyed it! While I’ve read MANY books on the craft of writing, I’ve never read a how-to/nonfiction book written as a work of fiction, with ANOTHER fictional story told within the same story! So much fun!!!

Like any other method of writing, I’m sure the Snowflake Method is not for everyone. And that’s okay! I started writing as a panster, sitting down to write with almost no plan in mind, just a general idea for the stories I wanted to write. That method didn’t go very well for me. It was too messy and I had a difficult time with it. I’d write myself into corners and get frustrated. Next, I tried my hand at plotting, working with outlines and notecards and planning ahead. Unfortunately, that didn’t go well either. The characters felt a little flat when I tried to write this way and soon they’d get away from me and I was back to pantsing.

The Snowflake Method seems like the best of both worlds, at least it is for me. You start out small, with a one-sentence summary, and work your way out. You work on the story, then character development, back to the story, then more character development…until you have your first draft. There are 10 Steps in the process. Some of the steps are just for you, the writer, but some of the early lessons can be used for book jackets and book proposals. It’s kind of comforting, actually. You can work out the kinks while the book is still small, just a few paragraphs, rather than 30,000+ words in.

The Snowflake Method is also good for widdling down characters before you’ve even written the first draft. You KNOW who is in the story and if they really need to be there early on. There’s a LOT of homework in the character development portions of this method, but I can see how this would keep a writer from having characters that could easily be replaced with potted plants. I now know the values, ambitions, and goals of every character in the story I’m about to write.

The downside of this method is there’s a lot of homework and planning involved. Part of me chafes at this and wants to get on to the “good stuff.” The upside is the Snowflake Method seems like a method that would work well if you wanted to be prolific and write more than one novel a year. You could easily start some of the planning exercises for one book while working on another and sort out the story before you wrote it all out. If the story is compelling in a simplified version, it’s worth the work involved to write the first draft. It’s MUCH easier to rewrite one sentence or one paragraph rather than entire chapters.

I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m finishing up Step #3, which doesn’t sound like much, but the first two steps take about an hour each to complete. (They took me longer than that, due to over-thinking them.) Step #3 is about an hour long with each character, but I haven’t been working on this every day. Even still, I should be able to start Step #4 this week: a one-page summary/skeleton of the entire book. (Which is just Step #2, a one-paragraph summary, expanded.)

So what have you been working on? Is it still cold out where you live? Has anyone been able to work in their gardens?

Please share with me in the comments below and have a wonderful day!

xo Juli

 

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5 thoughts on “44 Years in Month #4”

  1. Happy Birthday! Hey, whatever works for you! I find every story/book for me is different in terms of how best to write it – some are panster-y, some need lots of planning, and some are a mixture 🙂

    Like

  2. I hope your birthday was wonderful! 🙂

    Have you heard of Dean Wesley Smith? He also has a lot of excellent writing advice. 🙂

    Not out in the garden yet, but I’m hopeful the recent warm spell lasts!

    Like

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