Editorial Assistance

The Snowflake Method, Info Overload and Consistency

Okay, so the Snowflake Method isn't new. I first learned about it about six or seven years ago, when I was big on writing high fantasy and found the idea of planning a whole story and world very overwhelming (I found it overwhelming in the seventh grade and I still find it overwhelming as a freshman in college, which is why I've put all my high fantasy stories in a dusty box in the back of my closet).

I still remember preteen me sitting on the floor, filling page-after-page of my flimsy notebook with notes on the plot and characterization. I actually finished all of the steps. Unfortunately, preteen me abandoned that story when she realized she loved horror and wanted to delve into stories about the supernatural world.

Still, I never forgot about the Snowflake Method. It was a lot of fun to do and very insightful. Now, years later, young adult me is using it again - this time for a story I've already written and rewritten about five times (Savior of the Damned) and a brand new story I haven't started on yet (Dream Catcher). The snowflake method is helpful for both stories you've already written and stories you plan to write.

For instance, I really struggled with Step 2 of the method for Savior of the Damned. I realized the middle of my story didn't really have a defined act, a second major disaster. And, while it's okay that not all stories follow the three-act structure, I realized adding a major disaster in the middle - emotional disasters, as of now - would only enhance the plot overall. Had I not done the Snowflake Method just because I've already finished SotD, I may have never come to that conclusion.

Plus, me and the boyfriend brainstormed a wonderful one-sentence series summary and first book summary.

Series Summary: The Savior of the Damned leads supernatural creatures in a war against an all-powerful demon.

Book One Summary: An ex-drug addict travels within her mind to clear inner demons and become a goddess.

Now, about this info overload and consistency stuff. For me, they go hand-in-hand. When the year started, I made a big deal about unsubscribing to a bunch of newsletters and blogs. So I did. And, three months in, I've started subscribing to stuff again. People, this is a problem. I think I'm an info junkie. And I think there's a thin line between an info junkie and a procrastinator.

What doesn't help matters is that, instead of checking my e-mails once a week, I've instead decided to check 25 e-mails a day. 25 e-mails when each of those 25 e-mails are FULL of 5+ articles on writing, blogging, marketing, and editing is way too much info for everyday, definitely when you consider I'm also reading many more articles and blogs outside of my e-mails.

There's a such thing as trying to cram too much knowledge into your mind. It's overwhelming. Writing after reading all of those articles is much more stressful because all the things I've just learned are fresh on my mind, bothering me while I'm in the middle of writing a sentence. Then consistency is ruined. I find myself constantly wanting to keep up with these articles and posts, but there's just too many.

Because I'm a coach and an editor, it's great that I keep tabs on the writing world, but there needs to be a limit for both the sake of my sanity and my productivity. So I think I'll need to go back to checking e-mails once a week or once every two weeks.

Now I leave you with the first episode of Charlie the Unicorn and the song playing on my playlist as of now.

2 Responses
  1. Oh, goodness, this reminds me of a thought I had, literally, a few hours before you put up this blog post, and it was about the summary of Danse Macabre/Savior. I don't know why--I was still in Poland at the time, prolly just fulfilling some mental wanderlust at the time AKA off in lala land--but I was thinking about how it was worded kinda awkwardly and I wanted to point it out to you, but as I mentioned I was still in Poland back then and the Internet was... not even worth mentioning.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that those are much more clean-cut and concise. Also, this Snowflake Method thing seems like something I should give some thought. There's more to it than I was led to believe in the past. It makes writing really methodical and formulaic, which I fuckin can't stand, but it makes sense in the spirit of, as the article says, "writing a good novel."

    On another note, I maintain that you need to just fuck it and write before you go trying to make everything perfect (read: trying to fit your novel into others' ideas of how a novel should be). But that's just me and you've seen what kind of writing I use haha.

  2. Tiffany Says:

    Yeah, I need to update and change the descriptions for both SotD/Danse Macabre and Dream Catcher/Insomnium. When I first put those up, they were more like placeholder descriptions because I wanted to get this site finished.

    I mostly like the Snowflake Method because it's good for organization, but it does have a methodical, formulaic feel to it. And that can be...bleh. But yeah, what you maintain is definitely true. It's like I'm just struggling with the business hat and the creative hat.