7 Effective Tips for Using the Snowflake


ways to use the snowflake method


The Snowflake method is unique because it entails you to start with a single idea, and then gradually build your entire story on this single idea.

If you are writing a novel, this may seem like a bad idea, because story writing is very multifaceted, and building a story on a single idea may seem like a risk. However, there are many writers who stand by the snowflake method.

As a whole, it is an effective way to write an outline. You just need to know how to get started.

Here are 7 Effective ways to use the snowflake method.


1. Start with a simple summary

When you start your snowflake method outline, it is important that you write a simple summary first. From this simple summary, you will be able to create your overall outline. The summary should not be longer than one sentence.

This one sentence should encompass the main points of your story. In a way, the simple summary should sound like a teaser. It must be detailed enough to be a foundation for the overall story, but not too detailed that it tells the reader too much.


2. Write about your settings

After you write your simple summary, the next step is to write about your settings.  Write down key aspects of your story’s setting. It should contain key details such as when and where the story takes place. It should not be longer than a paragraph.

The paragraph should have key details that will show the overall theme of your story. The details should be sparse at first, but as you keep writing your outline, you should add to it as much as possible. If you have new insights or inspirations, don’t be afraid to add it to the summary right away.


3. Your protagonist is key

The most important character in your story is the protagonist. The story will revolve around him or her. Write a short paragraph about your protagonist.

It should have your protagonist’s key characteristics, backstory, motivations and role in the story. It should not be overly long, or detailed because you will be adding more concepts later on.



4. Fill out your characters

Although your main character is your most important character, he or she is not the only character in your book. There’s the secondary character, the antagonist, the love interest, the mentor and so on.

These characters are there to support and in the antagonist’s case antagonize your protagonist. When you write your characters, make a short list first. Write down your cast of character’s roles, backstories and motivations in the story.  The same way with your protagonist, don’t put too many details into the list. You’ll gradually fill these details in later during the writing process.


5. Write down the three stages of your story

Now that you have your settings and list of characters ready, it’s time to create your outline. Divide your story into three stages of the beginning, the middle and the end.

Write a paragraph for each of these stages and the key events that take place. By doing so, you will have a sort of blueprint throughout the writing process. It does not have to be detailed, instead it should be easy to follow and just enough to add more concepts later on.



6. Keep expanding your outline with more details

Once you have the bare bones outline ready, now is the time to fill it out. Take the time to write at least a page or two about each aspect of the outline.

This means that you fill up at least two pages each about your setting, your protagonist, your characters and the three stages of your story. By doing so you will be able to start writing your book with a pretty potent outline.

Just remember that flexibility is one of the key aspects of the snowflake method. So if you get inspired to use a new idea, don’t be afraid to use it in your work.


7. Don’t rush the process

One of the key points for using the snowflake method, is that you should not rush the process. Take your time, and add more elements to the story. You should not feel pressured to start writing the real draft of your novel, until all the elements are set in place. You might get impatient to write your book, which is understandable. The preparation process could be a bit tedious. However, it is better to have all the elements of your novel in place, than to struggle halfway through the writing process.



If you want to make the novel writing process efficient, you should try out the snowflake method. It is an underused, yet effective story mapping technique. If you use it properly, the writing process will definitely be a lot easier than ever.



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