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Fiction Writing Design
Snowflake Writing Design
Take an hour to write a one-sentence summary of the story.
Example: “A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul.”
A selling tool you will use forever to interest editors, bookstore owners, and readers.
One sentence to setup the story
One sentence for each of the three main disasters in the story
One sentence for the ending
Do steps 1 & 2 for the personal story of each character
One-sentence summary of the character's private storyline
Character's motivation (abstract)
Character's goal (concrete)
One-paragraph summary of the character's private storyline
Expand the one-paragraph summary from Step 2 into a full page.
Each sentence in the one-paragraph summary will expand to a full paragraph in your one-page synopsis
You are growing out the ideas already built into the story
Write a half-page or full-page description of each major character from Step 3
Tell the story from the point of view of each character
Put the resulting “character synopses” into your book proposal. Editors love them!
Expand the one-page summary from Step 4 into several pages (four or five)
Each paragraph in the one-page summary will expand to roughly a full page in your four-page synopsis
Make the big strategic decisions for the story
Expand your character synopses from Step 5 into full-fledged character charts
Write several pages about each character
Birthdate, description, history, motivation, goal, and everything else
Be obsessive here! The more work you put in here, the deeper your characters will be
Take A Break: Write Your Proposal Now
You have now done enough work to write an excellent proposal.
If you are a published novelist, you can sell this book with the proposal and some sample chapters.
Otherwise, sadly, you’ll need to write the whole novel. But it won’t hurt to write your proposal now anyway, because you’ll want to get some critiques on it and that takes time.
You need to make a list of all the scenes in your novel.
Use the ideal tool for writing lists--the spreadsheet. Do not panic here. Just do it.
Make one row for each scene.
Make one column for each aspect of the scene.
Spreadsheets are better than 3x5 cards!
Expand each scene to one or more paragraphs.
Each paragraph should sketch out everything you want to remember about the scene.
What is the setting?
Who are the characters?
What is the conflict?
Start writing, using your spreadsheet or your long synopsis.
You’ll be amazed how fast you write.
You’ll be amazed how deep your story is.
You may decide to change the story at some point. Go back and modify the Snowflake when this happens and then continue the first draft. It’s OK to do this!
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