I previously spoke about the Snowflake Method in this blog.
At the time I was working on a Space Opera but for my own reasons, that project has been put on hold. A contemporary novel has taken it’s place. And I’ve now had the chance to use this plotting and characterisation method for longer than I had previously.
In short, I like it.
I have a tale which centres around two main characters, but for the first time before I’ve starting writing the actual book, three minor characters have become just as important. Their actions feed into the plot, affecting others and the overall outcome.
They won’t take up as much space in the completed novel, but I already have a ‘better than first draft’ understanding of their need to be here. In the past, these realisations happen by the third or fourth draft.
I usually have a much shorter set up time before I begin.
I create character notes before writing a chapter-by-chapter outline which includes the conflict in the scene, as well as the cliff hanger. At the moment I’m doing both in a much more detailed way.
I currently have several pages telling the whole story from the POV of Dorothy, an older woman who finds the confidence she lacks by the end of the story. Because I was tired today, I didn’t do the same for the other major character. I chose another two instead – Frank, her husband, who is in the closet, and Finn, a younger gay man who believes he can be a star just by having a large number of Instagram followers.
Finn’s motivations have been realised in a way which would never have happened if I didn’t take the time to flesh out his story. And I doubt I would have developed him to this stage by the final draft if I used my old method.
My previous unpublished manuscript has a similar feel.
There are six characters who intermingle, yet there are three distinct tales told with little crossover. With this new work there is already more going on between the characters than my last. They all affect each other, which is just what happens in life.
But the other thing I’ve found is this story has me as excited as I was when I was working on my first novel. Not that the others haven’t filled me with passion, but I’m delving into each character in a way I did when I was first learning the craft.
And while I may be weeks away from typing ‘Chapter One’, I don’t feel I’m wasting time.