Snowflake method?

Hi - I am getting Randy’s newsletter about his snowflake method - parts of it have been helpful, though I am more a “seat of the pants” writer than an outliner. However-

He is offering a steep discount on his software. I am wondering whether I should give it a try. I’d use it for outlining and Scrivener for writing, I think. Has anyone here ever used this software, and, if so, would you recommend it?

Mary (whose novel is growing like a snowball, not a snowflake! Maybe I should market the snowball method - finish one chapter and discover that you require two more to answer the questions your first chapter raised!) :smiley:

Outlining seems to me to be a no-brainer. But then for many years I was in an occupation where I worked to tight deadlines; I simply couldn’t afford the time to sculpt my writing by trial and error. I had to plan it and build it; I couldn’t wing it and busk it. And I feel the same way now. Life is too short.

Snowflake is as good as any outlining method—possibly the best. In fact they’re all going in much the same direction—start with a seed and grow it—but Snowflake is probably one of the best explained and laid out, without over-complicated jargon or pushing-the-envelope philosophies of story.

The new software, like some others, appears to be based on a series of forms whereby theme, plot, characters and scenes are ultimately brought together in a synopsis or proposal document (not sure how a proposal document from a debutant(e) writer would run with an agent, though, unless accompanied by the novel itself).

If you wished, you could do the same after some setting-up with a spreadsheet, Curio, Tinderbox or OmniOutliner. But without Randy’s words of wisdom to guide you.

$20—maybe. $100—hmm.


Does the software add anything that you can’t do fairly simply in Scrivener itself?

Some time ago, I used the publicly available notes on the method to create a template - very simple, basically a separate research folder for each of the steps with associated folders for character, locations etc.

The fact that I’ve since done absolutely nothing with the template if of course nothing to do with the method and everything to do with my propensity to do anything but write… But when I do start, I’ll probably use that method.



Thank you both! I have actually done the first few steps on my own - not in Scriv, but by hand and in writeroom on my iPhone. I find that, after defining my story (very helpful), too much planning discourages me and I just need to write. Someone named Connie found that she could use parts, but not all, of Randy’s method, and I think I feel the same way. But what’s attractive to me about (possibly) getting the software is the guidance in outlining and also in generating proposals. I’ve found I do have to outline as I go along, and that the one-sentence story definition was a very good tool. Also, if all goes well, I will need to write a proposal one day, and some handholding there might be very helpful. :confused:

So I might give it a try and then let you all know what I think. OTOH, I’m doing all right so far without it. Scrivener, however, is indispensable!

Just following up - I did take the plunge and downloaded it, and I think it’ll be a nice adjunct to Scriv that I will use occasionally. That much preplanning and prewriting, to me, takes the heart right out of my story, but some of it is essential, and the software is small, easy to use, and rather fun provided you don’t let yourself get bogged down in details. When Randy starts talking about revising earlier parts of the snowflake based on what you discover about your characters, plot, etc - well, I think you should be making those discoveries while writing your story. But the first two or three exercises are very useful, and it’s worthwhile to come back to them and the others after you’ve actually begun to write, IMHO.

So - yes, worth $20. Certainly not worth $100.

I love Randy’s method. In fact, it’s what got me through a major revision on one book, and I’ve used it in part on another. I think my plot lines are much improved for it.

I used Scrivener with the second book. I used a combination of cork board and a folder inside the research folder to outline.

I say in part because author Kelley Armstrong has on her site Outlining 101, which I found a roll-up-your-sleeves, scaled down version that got me straight into writing book 2 instead of procrastinating my outline to the hilt.

While writing book the synopsis for book three, I stumbled across the easiest method (for me, anyway) of writing a synopsis. At the end of the author’s blog post, she mentioned her method of synopsis writing is much like her plotting method.

I’m anxious to try her method, expand using my cross between Randy’s and Kelley’s methods and see if it’s easier for me… using Scriv, of course.

$100? Not for me, thanks.


ETA: ooops! Would be nice if I gave the link of the unidentified writer, wouldn’t it?