When I first began to write “professionally” the only advice I received was to write.
“Write and you’ll get better.”
My writing did not get better! Sadly. But I did not give up. I watched an author interview where the award-winning guest stated that writing well can be taught. I believed him and I set out on this journey to learn and then learn some more until writing became less of a puzzle to me.Embed from Getty Images
Thankfully studying story structure and reading books on writing have helped in surprising ways.
This has to lead me to start writing my first novel and to outline or not to outline?
Firstly, there are many different methods to outlining-I have discovered! You likely have tried many as well. If you would like to share some that work for you please feel free to share.
The Snowflake method as pictured above is one that frequently I heard nothing but great reviews over. So I had to at least try it myself.
I googled the method and though many broke it down fairly well, I still did not understand, parts of it that are crucial to applying the method. For this reason I purchased the book.
It is a quick read and uses Goldilocks and other fairytale characters to explain the method. Is it dumbing it down? No, in fact: “It was just right. ” The fairytale characters stay true to their story personas, but Randy uses them in a completely different storyline. At times I did feel a little silly reading about baby pig and papa bear, but that was rare. Mostly I stayed glued to every word, soaking in knowledge like I was at a TED Talk.
The new story of Goldilocks is used to explain the snowflake method to a completely clear explanation. After reading that portion I was pumped and ready to start outlining.
The second half is the nonfairytale portion. It’s to the point and doesn’t baby you any longer. This was the point where I thought maybe I’m an organic writer after all?
Randy gives numerous examples on each step. There are 10 steps by the way. The tenth being… I won’t spoil the surprise! But it’s easy. I promise.
Overall I learned valuable knowledge on writing a synopsis, on character development, to ask questions about your story and how fiction should never be like real life. Soap operas would be boring if they were based on real life. Imagine a soap without the villain coming back to life several times. Boring! (Annoying still)
I was put off by the amount of outline writing it takes with the snowflake method. For me, it required too much repeating or retyping of the same information. I’m mostly referring to the character sheets.
I’m not saying I will never try the snowflake method in its entirety-perhaps on a brand, project. For my current project I already knew most of the questions needed to complete the outline.
The book is one I will always fall back on for encouragement and direction. But, the great reviews for the book speak for themselves. I’m just another happy purchaser.
Some great information in this book whether you use the method or not.