Well, here I am, on Step Five of the Snowflake Method.
Can I just say, I am loving it? Here’s the thing about the Snowflake Method: it breaks your novel up into discrete chunks you can deal with. Trust me when I say that you cannot hold the plot of your entire novel in your head. I know it seems like you should be able to, because you can do it with books you’ve read. So why on Earth couldn’t you do it with a book you’re writing?
Well, because there is both more and less detail in your own proto-novel. There’s less detail: that whole muddy stretch where your protagonist Learns Something Crucial. You don’t know exactly what or why, but you know that it advances you to the next plot point. And there’s more detail: that part where the victim’s wife gets killed, except maybe it’s actually his ex-wife, or maybe it’s actually his mistress. And maybe she doesn’t get killed, she just gets beaten into a coma, which leads to that whole plot thread where your character wonders whether she’ll recover in time to name her attacker. There are tons of competing, incomplete plot threads that all exist in parallel in your head, and the whole effect is… well, murky.
Which is sort of what the Snowflake helps you cut through. Today I’ll be working on Step Five, Character Storylines. Basically, I’ll be writing a page that tells the story from the point of view of each of the main characters. This is going to be a hard step, because I have a lot of the story from Kitty’s perspective, but Gallo and Koko each have a strong subplot that is really pretty germinal right now. Also, I’ll need to work through the antagonists’ storylines and make sure everything they do makes sense from their perspectives. Should be fun!
2:59 PM: Having a hard time deciding who to start with. I guess it only makes sense to start with Kitty. She should come together fairly easily.
3:34 PM: Or not.
3:49 PM: Officially opening Excel to begin my first scene-by-scene spreadsheet for Book 2. Exciting!
4:32 PM: Ok, so Kitty’s storyline is done. I guess. It needs more detail, but that’s ok, it’s only supposed to be a one-page overview. Time to move on to Mr. Gallo. This one’s gonna be tough.
5:47 PM: Whoops. I got lost in a rat hole on the internet. Back now.
6:01 PM: Ok. Now I’m back.
6:04 PM: Whew. I just realized there’s a major plot thread that I need to deal with that I completely blanked on. Ok. That should make this harder.
7:40 PM: Ok. I’m in kind of a funk here. I need to find some way to refocus on this task. So, I will take ten minutes and just stream-of-consciousness write. Basically, what I’m working on here is a way to tie up lingering threads from Book One.
7:59 PM: Question: What is melodrama? Is it scenarios that are intended to be dramatic, but fail to resonate because the underlying work of building up the emotions has not been done? Or are there situations that are always melodramatic? Basically I’m asking, can I be all soap opera if I earn it?
8:09 PM: So, the stream-of-consciousness got me thinking about some of the major issues, but it didn’t actually land me anywhere. Stream-of-consciousness writing is basically my way of forcing myself to think. If I think inside my head, my thoughts range all over the place, but if I think with my fingers, I can stay on task. My fingers are easier to discipline.
But, as I said, I am still basically in Murkville. More stream-of-consciousness? Whew, here we go.
8:50 PM: Time for desperate measures.Â I’m going to go think in the shower.Â Which is another way of saying I’m going to relax for a half an hour.
9:34 PM: All right, nothing really got resolved during that shower, but it was nice all the same.Â I think I’m done for the day.Â See you next week.