The Snowflake Method

The snowflake method of writing a novel is a scientific approach to writing a book. The method shows how to write a novel that resembles how a mathematical snowflake is created by repeatedly adding more steps in a structured manner. By starting with small ideas, writing them down and then adding to previous steps, the author will find his writing speed increasing quite rapidly.

Instructions to the Snowflake Method:

1. Write a summary of your novel in one sentence. Take an hour and write out your one sentence summary. This sentence will be how you hook an editor into buying your novel. Therefore, it should be the best you can think up.

2. Turn your sentence into a 5 sentence paragraph that outlines the beginning, conflicts and the end of your novel. Next, give each of the major characters a one page biography. Put down what motivates each of them and the conflicts they will endure.

3. Go back to the paragraph in step 2. Turn each of the 5 sentences into individual paragraphs. All of the paragraphs should have some excitement and conflict with four of them ending with a disaster and the last paragraph telling how the novel ends. Then, take a day or two and write a page long character synopses for all the main characters. Write a half page synopses for any supporting characters.

4. Take your one page synopsis from step 4. Turn it into a 4 page synopsis. You’ll do this by expanding each of the paragraphs into 4 individual pages over a period of one week. Next, take another week and expand the biography you created in step 4 for all of your characters. Now is the time to sort through the story lines to see which are workable and revise anything that needs it

5. Use a spreadsheet to make a list detailing all of the scenes you’ll need from the 4-page synopsis. Create a line for each scene. List the point of view character in one column and a description of the scene in another column. You can also add a chapter number for each scene and list them in a column.

6. Expand each of the lines on the spreadsheet into a multi-paragraph description of the scene. If you find no conflict by the end of a scene, either rewrite it so there is conflict or cut out that scene. After you finish the steps above, take a break and catch your breath. Next, gather the pages you worked out with the snowflake method. Type them into a novel.

Apophasis and Praeteritio

An apophasis is a rhetorical device where the speaker asserts or emphasizes a topic by pointedly seeming to pass over, or ignore the point; whereas in reality, the speaker nevertheless hints at the point he wants to make.

The Latin counterpart is known as a praeteritio (also known as occupatio) which is a rhetorical device where the speaker emphasizes a topic by mentioning the fact that the topic is not going to be mentioned – mentioning by not mentioning.

In most cases these rhetorical devices are one and the same, except in clear-cut cases where the speaker is very forthright. In this case we refer to the remark as a praeteritio:

“If you were not my father, I would say you were perverse.” – Antigone

“I will pass over the fact that Jenkins beats his wife, is an alcoholic, and sells drugs to children, because we will not allow personal matters to enter into our political discussion.”

Whereas the apophasis can be more subtle:

“Of course, I do not need to mention that you should bring a No. 2 pencil to the exam.”

See other: Admin’s Choice Posts