For the first time I am making a concerted effort to outline (sort of) before I write. I’m cheating because both the WIPs I’m working on are first drafts. I am trying to outline before I start the second drafts. This is a fascinating process.
Writers over at Verla Kay’s blue board suggested several sites to another writer looking for plotting templates. I am using this snowflake thing. It’s pretty cool, especially because for the Romantic Comedy Collaboration I’m working on with my friend Susan in LA, because steps 1 and 2 give you a log line and a beat sheet.
So the thing is I am finding that this is as creative as you could want. I am one of those writers whose characters tend to be a bit ornery. I also can’t just sit down and make things up. The stories and characters and solutions to plot or characterization problems come to me best when I’m not looking–at writing anyway, they come to be quite frequently when I’m staring out the window.
But since I have a first draft working from that intuitive, inchoate murk, I can now play with the pieces more consciously. It’s fun. It’s disciplined. It’s a bit of a procrastination tactic, like playing Sudoku with the plot points, but whatever. As Mr. Snowflake Man says it’s definitely going to cut down the number of drafts. At least I hope so.

7 thoughts on “Snowflakes

  1. I got here from Nobody. I like the snowflake. Well, so far. I haven’t read it all yet and I don’t know What My Novel Is About yet either (Step One), I just have a general environment worked out surrounding a murder that takes place at the very beginning, and a couple characters slightly envisioned. But hey, anything that helps all this amorphous creativite rubble coalesce into a guide to write to has to be good.p.s. – I love the snow leopards.


  2. I always outline before the first draft, but nothing creative or special like your snowflake. I do it the way we learned in 8th grade: I, A, i, a. But I can make my people do anything I want, because I write backwards from you. I usually start with world/setting, then story, and people last. I really don’t know my characters until the 2nd or 3rd draft. It’s more convenient the way I do it, because I have more control, but the people populating my stories don’t seem quite as alive as yours.


  3. I think the snowflake thing is most fascinating when it comes to the character building parts. That has really opened up that one character, Buckley, in the WIP that most people had the most trouble with in the first draft. Now I’m getting into him and he;s breaking my heart!


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