I’ve had a breakthrough. If you’re following me, you know that I haven’t the foggiest idea about how to write a novel… But I am actually writing one. I have an idea for my story, one that’s been semi-formed in my mind for over a year now. I started writing it based on what I know so far, but I found myself staring aimlessly at my computer trying to decide what to write next. Like, hoping that I would just figure it out.
So I turned to my good friend Google. Apparently, Google knows everything. I searched the phrase “how to write a novel” and clicked on the very first link that popped up (the “I’m feeling lucky” button doesn’t show up on my browser tabs for some reason). It was an article written by Randy Ingermanson aka “The Snowflake Guy” according to his website. He’s a theoretical physicist and a novelist and he’s known for something called The Snowflake Method to outline your novel. He states in the article that it can triple your writing speed. I was skeptical… But when I actually started to work on it, I realized that by gosh, he might be right.
I’ll spare you the details about how The Snowflake Method works. You certainly are welcome to Google it yourself. But the short of it is, that it outlines the steps to designing your novel. Here’s what I learned.
- It is important to create a single sentence to describe your book. Trust me, this is much harder than it sounds. It took me a whole hour to write mine. And I’m not even sure I’m happy with it. But for a start, it’ll do
- Map your characters. Characters are the heart of the novel. Yes, some novels are driven by the story, but all novels, even the story-driven ones, have characters. And that’s what people relate to.
- I can actually use Excel!! Joy and happiness! I love Excel. Of course, it doesn’t come into play much when writing, but this guy suggests to take your single sentence synopsis, expand it into a full page, then write each scene in a different row on a spreadsheet. This is your basic outline. And you can move the scenes around as you need them. I wrote mine in chronological order and then moved them around based on how I want to tell the story.
I am BLOWN away by how well this mapping process went. I now officially have my theme, plot, storyline, characters, and outline fully nailed down! It will change, of course, as I continue to tweak it, but for now, I have a basis to follow. I have it neatly broken down into four parts and 52 chapters.
On another note, I’ve been trying to read as much science fiction as I can, and I found out, just a few months ago, that you can get library books on your phone! Mind = blown. Now I don’t have to pay for books! Let’s be real, I’m much more likely to check out a book on my phone than to drive to the library. It’s an app called Overdrive. All you need is a library card and viola! Insta-library books! So anyway, I’ve been reading science fiction, but I wanted to read a book that dealt with mother/daughter relationships since I’ve got one of those in my story. The only book that I could think of that had a mother/daughter relationship was Carrie by Stephen King. I know. Of all the ridiculous, messed up, insane, totally whacked-out mother/daughter relationships out there, I picked the MOST crazy one. But I decided that even a totally insane mother/daughter relationship might be worth exploring.
So I checked out Carrie on Saturday, started reading it Saturday night, and was completely finished with it by Sunday afternoon. I’m no stranger to Carrie. I’ve seen the “plug it up” scene, and I’ve watched John Travolta bleed the pig, and I’ve seen Sissy Spacek scream in the closet, and walk in a trance through the gym, covered in blood. So I had expectations about it and I certainly thought I knew how it ended. Boy was I wrong! That was a heck of a good book and I highly recommend it if you’re into that type of crazy, terror-filled, Stephen King–esque drama. It’s not my usual cup of tea, but like I said, I got to examine a really messed up mother/daughter relationship and a heck of a good novel at the same time. Two birds, one stone. Plus, it’s short. Added bonus! Take care peeps!