Mark My Words

Writing, flying and yawning my way through motherhood

Using the Snowflake Method for NaNoWriMo October 14, 2008

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Novel Writing — H. M. @ 8:48 am
Tags: , ,

Last year I had the luxury of writing my NaNoWriMo novel by the seat of my pants. I sort of had to because I didn’t hear about it until November 3 so there was no time for planning. I had lots of time on empty flights and lonely hotel overnights to piece the story together. Even though I’m now on a leave of absence from work, having a new baby to take care of occupies about 18 hours of my day. (I’m lucky if I get to use the other six for sleeping.

The snowflake fractal.

The snowflake fractal.

I’ll have to be much more calculating in my preparation this year. I’m going to try to do an abbreviated Snowflake Method approach to this year’s NaNoWriMo. The Snowflake Method is something I read about on the NaNoWriMo forums last year. This guy Randy Ingermanson calls himself “America’s Mad Professor of Fiction Writing” (who doesn’t love a mad professor?) and he’s created a novel writing formula called The Snowflake Method.

The Snowflake Method is a 10 step program for organizing and preparing to write a novel. It would typically take 4-6 weeks to complete steps 1-8 but I aim to get them done in 16 days. And that’s only if I start today. But anyone participating in NaNoWriMo is probably insane anyway so if they can write a novel in a month, why not do the planning in 16 days?

Read my Snowflake Method article on Associated Content.


8 Responses to “Using the Snowflake Method for NaNoWriMo”

  1. Alycia Says:

    I signed up for this….wish me luck!

  2. Heather Says:

    Hooray! It’ll be wicked fun!

  3. Alycia Says:

    Love the picture with Hammy! xxxooo

  4. Heather Says:

    I know! He doesn’t look like a crybaby there! 🙂

  5. Leigh Barlow Says:

    I’m not using the snowflake idea (althought I might give it a go after NaNo), but I have been doing some planning based on some advice by another author.

    Mine went something like this:

    1. Write a synopsis of the story (a few pages long).

    2. Write out some background on the main characters.

    3. Write a load of descriptions for places and people (so you don’t make any mistakes later on).

    4. Write out a timeline.

    5. Write a brief description of each ‘scene’ in the story (what happens and who’s there etc.).

    6. Colour code the scenes red for action and blue for not action. Then check there is a good balance.

    7. When you start writing just write one scene at a time. You already know what’s going to happen in each scene so all you have to do is the writing bit.

    So far it’s working. Hopefully the full onslaught of NaNo won’t ruin the plan completely. 😉

  6. Heather Says:

    😉 Writing a novel is like financial planning. Whatever it takes to get you to your goal! What’s your NaNo URL? Let’s be buddies.

  7. Leigh Barlow Says:

    My NaNo page is and yes, buddies would be good, I think I might need them when pressure over comes excitement. 🙂

    To make my life doubly hard I’m also going to be blogging my NaNo attempt and if it goes well (which of course it will 😉 ), I’ll be publishing a chapter or two every few days on my blog. I think ‘whatever it takes’ may be lots of happy music and very little sleep.

  8. Alycia Says:

    OK so I just accepted an invitation from someone unknown to me named to meet at the Milford Courtyard at the Marriott on Monday night to kick off this adventure & discuss plot planning etc. I have no plot, I have only 1 and maybe another character but I have no idea how they fit together or what will happen to either of them.

    I am very impressed by Leigh Barlow but as usual I feel less than because I have no nano page and no clue how to get one….maybe the directions are on the main website, or maybe tmsj will tell me how…and come to think about it I have no idea whether TMSJ is male or female and how I will recognize him/her…..I feel like everyone else is in Advanced Physics and I’m just starting first grade…..

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