Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

As writers we often attempt to try different things to help us with our writing processes. We often ask if we should create an outline first or just start writing. We may want to just get started and hope for the best, sometimes we may want to know which way is the quickest or easiest method. Either way we just have to keep trying different things and use suggested methods to see what works.

I came across a blog called BubbleCow where information is shared about Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.This method offers 10 steps writers can work on to get the full story of their latest novel or work-in-progress. It is very lengthy and seems a bit tasking. I don’t plan to try it right away, perhaps when I start a new project, because it is so detailed and time consuming. Take a look at the questions and let me know your thoughts on this process.


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The Ten Step Process

1. Write a one-sentence summary of your novel.

2. Expand the sentence to a paragraph describing the story narrative, any major events and the ending.

3. Now consider the main character and write a one page summary for each, considering the following points:

  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline.
  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?).
  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?).
  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?).
  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?.
  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline.

4. Go back to the summary you wrote in 2 and expand each sentence into a paragraph. Randy’s advice here is:

5. Write a one page description for each major character, which tells the story from their point of view.

6. Expand your one page plot synopsis into a four page plot synopsis.

7. Expand your character descriptions from 3 into full ‘character charts’.

8. Using the expanded synopsis, make a list of every scene you will need to write to complete the novel.

9. Using the scene list, write a multi-paragraph narrative description of each scene.

10. Write your first draft.

This post is a summary of Ingermanson’s thinking and ideas. I strongly suggest that if you wish to apply the Snowflake Method that you go to Randy Ingermanson’s website to find more details



4 comments on “Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method

  1. Hi Kristi, thanks for viewing and liking my blog.

    I’m working on my first novel and, in-between when I need a break, polishing a few short stories. The Snowflake method is one of my staples in either genre. Combine that with teachings from Donald Maass, Lorin Oberwerger, and Jason Stites, plus a few others and I think you’ve got the makings of good background and plotting. You don’t have to use everything in the 10 questions. Just keep those ideas and facts in the back of your mind.

    But, you might go back to them when it’s time for a synopsis and find that, by gosh, the synopsis practically has written itself.


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