Snowflake Method Step One

The Snowflake Method was developed by Randy Ingermanson. The idea is to start small, and build and scaffold from there. This is just one method some people use to plan for novels and larger stories.

Write a one-sentence summary of your story. Something like this: “A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul.” The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture.

If you later write a book proposal, this sentence should appear very early in the proposal. It’s the hook that will sell your book to your editor, to your committee, to the sales force, to bookstore owners, and ultimately to readers. So make the best one you can!

Some hints on what makes a good sentence:

  • Shorter is better. Try for fewer than 15 words.
  • No character names, please! Better to say “a handicapped trapeze artist” than “Jane Doe”.
  • Tie together the big picture and the personal picture. Which character has the most to lose in this story? Now tell me what he or she wants to win.
  • Read the one-line blurbs on the New York Times Bestseller list to learn how to do this. Writing a one-sentence description is an art form.
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Posted on October 19, 2015, in NaNoWriMo, Writing Tips. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. A teenage boy turned girl discovers the purpose of a worldwide gender switch and is sent on a goose chase to spread the word.

  2. This is very helpful, especially because I’m currently in the process of writing my own novel. I’m not sure how well it’ll turn out when I try it, but I’ll definitely be practicing.

  3. A teenage boy goes missing and his best friend sets out to find him after the case goes cold.

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