lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)

At the last minute, I decided to write a novel. I was going to wing it. I had a hero, supporting characters, an opponent, some vague plot ideas, and on the 1st, I started writing.

By the end of the third day, I was a bit bored and frustrated with the story. I just didn't know the hero as well as I would have liked, and I kind of lost my way, storywise.

So I changed gears and picked up a story I'd recently jotted down some ideas for. A trilogy, actually. I know my main characters well, and I have a good idea of how the opponent would act and react to certain things.

Day four changed everything. I started writing a story I actually had good ideas about, and I ran with it. I'm writing one storyline at a time. First came the storyline for the hero, then for his brother, then for the opponent. Only the opponent's storyline wound up being for another character I guess I needed to explore, and boy, have I explored! In the process of writing his second chapter, I reached and surpassed 50K...on Day 16! How cool is that? :D

Read on to see what got me there... )

I'm going to keep writing. The plan is to write the rough drafts of all three books in the trilogy all at once.

I'm also shooting for 100K words by the end of November. I can do it. I'm on a roll! :D

I will say this. If it wasn't for the WANATribe writers who have been sprinting every day, lending support and encouragement, I doubt I'd have won already. I'd probably be around 25-35K right now...which wouldn't be so bad, but man! To write fast and hit the mark so early has given me an incredible feeling. :)

Anyway, that's what I've been up to.

And it's almost time to start on more writing sprints, so I'd better get to it!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Cog)

I've been participating in Nanowrimo ever since 2006. It seemed wrong not to participate on what would be my tenth year, so I changed my mind.

I won't actually be writing a novel, though. I'll be planning out two series--one about my crew when they were privateers, then another after they go rogue and become pirates. I plan to write several novels in each series. It should be a piece of cake to reach 50K words with just the plans alone. I'm going for it! :D

That said, I'm trying to take it easy until then--well, except for today. I've done a lot of work today, but not on Nano stuff.

Tonight's the Kick-off Party down at our favorite coffee shop. Even though we won't be using computers for writing, I'll be taking mine along. I need to download some course lectures and other things anyway, so why not? ;)

I'm really looking forward to this, as I do every year, even if it will be different. This will be just the kick in the pants I need to get busy with this. I've been procrastinating. Even though I stay busy, I'm not always busy with what I should be doing. It will be good to get back to it.

And on that note, I've got a shower to take and a snack to eat (I never had lunch).

And daydreaming to do about the series. ;)


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Phoenix: Born Anew)

A Note About This Theme: I know some people have a hard time reading light text on a darker background. If my text is hard for you to read, there are two solutions I can think of. You can either switch your Dreamwidth settings to view journals in your own theme, or you can copy and paste the text of my entries to a temporary text file in Notepad or some other text editor. In any case, I hope you find my words interesting and inspiring. :)

It's been a looooong time since I've posted. I plan to post more often from here on out, though still not as much as I used to when I was over on LiveJournal.

I've been working on worldbuilding a lot, and I've been writing rough drafts of short stories. I'll be planning and writing more soon, but I'm trying to take care of some other things first.

Research is a biggie. I'm having to research things like medieval sailing ships (mainly the cog, but others, too) and how to sail them, pirates and privateers, the yeti, currency in medieval times, etc. I'm also making up a lot of stuff about my different countries and regions, creating races for my world, etc. It's a ton of work, but a lot of fun, too!

Reading and taking courses are two other things I've been up to. I highly recommend Udemy.com. They have tons of courses, and if you sign up to get their newsletter, you'll get notices when they have awesome sales. I recently picked up two great writing courses for $10 each, and before that, I got my first course for about 70% of it's normal price. Awesome! :D

And I've been dealing with lots of tech issues. My external hard drive started dying, for one thing. I got a lot of stuff off of it, but not everything. I want to try again. Most of the maps of my fictional world are on it. I'd like to save them if I can. There have been other problems too, but nothing so nervewracking as the external hard drive situation.

I've also started playing my first "real" game, Assassin's Creed II. I'm loving it, but there's a lot I still don't know how to do. I'll get the hang of it. I'm currently on sequence 4. :)

I normally participate in Nanowrimo every November, but I'm taking this year off. I'm still dealing with some wrist pain and trigger finger, so I've been limiting how much I do on the computer. I'm also dealing with fibromyalgia, which is getting better slowly. I just don't want to put any pressure on myself and have a relapse of any kind. I should have taken some time off earlier in the year. Not participating in Camp Nanowrimo in April and July would have helped, I'm sure. :P

We've been working on changing our eating habits, too. We've been steering clear of processed foods as much as possible, though Jeff still eats bread. I've been staying away from bread, rice, and pasta for the most part (occasionally I'll have some, but it's rare and not much). I've been drinking tea, rarely having coffee of any kind. I love Yogi and Stash teas. I drink some Harney & Sons, but I'm trying to use those up. Then I'll stick to Yogi and Stash. I also love matcha tea, but I need to get a sifter and matcha bowl. Hmm...

I'll sometimes post writing I've done, but I'm going to lock it to my friends filter. They'll be first drafts with a little editing to clean them up. They won't be the finished product. The finished products will likely wind up on my Website (or in Kindle eBooks when I start publishing them).

And that's pretty much what I've been up to. :)

Keep traveling light!


lmeighmy: (D To Keep You Safe)
I surpassed 50,000 words, and I’m happy about that. However, I’m not too happy about not reaching my secondary goal, which was to reach 60K. I came fairly close, however, as my final word count was 56,515. It’s still nothing to sneeze at, and my story, from what I can tell, is far from done.

I plan to finish this rough draft, then start revising it. During the revision process, I’m going to start posting it as a serial novel. I’ve never done this before. The most I usually do is write the first draft of a novel. Occasionally, I’ll read them, do some light proofreading, and then never look at them again. I’m not too confident in my editing skills. My best skill is coming up with the story and writing it as it comes to me. (This doesn’t mean I don’t plan my stories. I outline most of them beforehand. Occasionally, I don’t do any planning whatsoever. Other times, as with this story, I start out planning, then pants it for a while, then maybe start planning closer to the end (although I’m still in the middle with this one right now).

I’ve killed off a character I liked, but who was getting really dull. I’ve added a character I’d planned for a different story that’s pretty much going nowhere. And I only recently came up with the main villain, the purpose for the secondary villain, and some other small, yet important facts for the story.

In the midst of all this, I also roleplay (which is awesome fun and has resulted in a character I really love more than any other, a character who I want to explore a lot more), using blogs and email. This character is a journalist, and as I was telling my partner in the roleplay, he makes me want to change the world with my own writing. He really makes me want to improve on a lot of things within myself, and I love that. He’s opened my eyes to a world of possibilities, both personally and professionally, and that’s one of the things I love so much about writing him. He’s the kind of person I want to be, in spite of his faults and problems. It’s never too late. In fact, a person should never stop learning, should never stop trying to be more than he or she is at any given moment. I’ve got a long way to go before I can reach the point where I’ll be anything resembling satisfied, but I feel I’m on the right track.

Have you ever written a character like this–a character who, in the process of writing them, made you want to aspire to be more than you are?


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
I've been struggling for the past two weeks over what I wanted to write here. I'm resistant to the thought of going back to a "This is what I did today" format, so I'm trying to find interesting things to share on my blog. My friend, Patti, told me to write about my passion. Right now, that's writing--but not just my own, and I'll talk about that in a minute. Right now, I just want to say that things have changed a lot for me. I don't have as much free time as I did a year ago, but in many ways, that's a very good thing. It's forcing me to grow as a writer, to learn how to better manage my time, to learn discipline, to make time for what matters (even when it seems frivolous) rather than just doing whatever strikes my fancy in the moment. While that may be well and good for some people, it's very undisciplined, and one cannot be successful letting the winds take them every which way.

In an effort to earn some extra money while having fun with something I enjoy, I've become a part of a new Web site for writers. It's called Your Story Starters, and we're trying to gear it toward writers suffering from what many refer to as "writer's block," as well as teachers looking for material for their students. We offer prompts--story starters--that will get people thinking and, of course, writing. We've seen many sites on the Internet, many books, offering prompts. Most of them are very basic, or they're just plain weird or funny or--definitely not what we're offering. We try to give some tips and questions to get the writer or student thinking, to get them excited about the piece. We're not getting these prompts from other sources. We're putting a lot of time and effort into them because we want to offer the best product out there. We want to go above and beyond what everyone else is doing. We want to put out a product we can take pride in, something that people will recommend to others.

As a result of this, I'm learning a bit about social networking. I've had a Twitter account for a long time, as well as a Facebook account and a Google+ account, but I haven't used them as much as I could have. Mainly, they just seemed very overwhelming for someone who didn't really have anything to say most of the time. Now that I have something to talk about, I find I'm actually looking for things to Tweet or update about. And I'm finding I really love our hashtags (#yss and #yourstorystarters), even if we've only just begun using them. We're not making any money with this yet, but it's only a matter of time, right? The most important thing right now is that we're having fun, but we're also treating this as a real business, because that's what it is. It's work, and hard work at that, even if it is fun work. I'm glad to be a part of this, and I plan to do my part in making it the success I believe it can be.

In other news, Nanowrimo is coming up. I have no idea what I'll write. I haven't worked out any storylines. But I think I'd like to write some kind of fantasy. I have a D&D-style story I was working on, but I want to change it to fit my own fantasy world. The character names will all remain the same, but I'll have to tweak certain details. Should be interesting. I think for this year's Nanowrimo, I'll concentrate on the character's backstories. I should have plenty of information to come up with a novella length document. :)

I also have another story in the works. I'm working on the outline. It's slowgoing, and it's not for publication. It's for the roleplay. It's an interesting concept, and there's a lot to consider in this story. I want it to be complex, but interesting. Most of all, I need the characters to be real. Shouldn't be a problem. The hardest part is plotting, which is always the case, and I've got lots to go on in that regard. I'm still really loving my character, Dakota, too!

And now for the personal stuff. Eric and Chelsey have moved back up to Joplin. I won't go into detail, but Eric's already got a job, and he's also working on their new house with Chelsey's dad. It's a ton of work. Chelsey's been really busy, too. And Josiah's started pre-school. From what I've heard, he really loves it. :)

Jeff's still working at the greenhouse, and I still can't help wondering when they'll "go out of business" again or something, but I'm trying to stay positive and learn contentment where I am. Most of the time, it's relatively easy, but there are times when it's not. Just need to keep from letting those times bog me down. Easier said than done. 'Nuf said?

My mom's here. She's been here for more than two months. It's been a good visit. I feel kind of guilty spending so much time back in the studio working on this or that, but we get time to socialize in the evenings, too. And I imagine she loves the peace and quiet as much as I do.

We're hoping to go up to Joplin before my mom goes back. When the kids moved back up there, we went with them. Jeff drove the truck, and I kept him company. This was when Isaac came through, but it wasn't really that bad. It was kind of nice, actually. And as always, it was great to see Jeff's dad and step-mom. We want to go up there again within the next six weeks. We need to sit down and discuss when would be a good time. We'll also need to head to the airport at some point, when my mom has to fly back home.

Oh! One other thing on the subject of writing--sort of. I actually won a book! I follow The Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson, on Twitter and Facebook. I also subscribe to her email, since I tend to miss a lot of tweets and status updates. In one of the most recent e-mails, I saw that she was doing a mini tour on the Internet, and I could possibly win her new book, The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-By-Step Exercises To Help You Create Compelling Stories. All I had to do was comment on an entry to be eligible. I didn't expect to win anything, but I wanted to comment and let my support for The Plot Whisperer be known. I figured I'd buy the workbook after a little while, so winning wasn't really all that important to me. But I won! I actually won! :D So far, I really love it. It asks a lot of really great questions about the plot, the characters, etc. I plan to use this for my Nanowrimo book of backstories, too. It should help make my characters and their world ever more complex and realistic, as well as the main story, when I get around to creating it. :)


Story Ideas

Jul. 5th, 2012 01:57 pm
lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
Note: I posted this over on my main WordPress blog, but wanted to share it here, too. This is just my basic take on how to find ideas and play with them to come up with a good story that readers won't want to put down. Not everyone will agree with everything I've said, and that's fine. We're all entitled to our own opinions. :)

Where do you get them? How often? And how do you know when you've happened upon a real gem?

What makes an idea great, anyway?

You learn the answer to this question by playing around with the idea. By coming up with a setting and characters and then putting them into the situation you've cooked up. Like a new recipe, you'll have to keep tweaking your idea until it works, until all of the ingredients work together to create something you feel passionate about writing.

If it's not something you want to explore, and deeply at that, it's probably best if you file it away for later. You can always go back to it at another time. Maybe you'll get some creative spark from it when you're ready. It won't excite your readers if it doesn't excite you. And let's face it, how many times have we all had to sit and listen to boring speeches given by people who were full of head knowledge but had no passion for their subject? It's the same with stories. If you're not excited about your characters and their story, your readers will sense that, and they'll stop reading before they ever get to the bottom of page one.

So you need to be excited about your idea, and build upon it. You might start with a mood, such as a dark, rainy day. How do you turn that into a story?

First of all, you populate it. You create an antagonist and give him or her some kind of life. What kind of occupation does he have? Does she have a husband and children? What was his childhood like? What is her worst fear, and why is she so afraid of it? What makes him angry enough to kill? Keep asking yourself questions about his or her life. The answers will help you understand how he or she reacts to certain situations in your story.

Then you want to come up with the current problem, the inciting incident, the thing that changes your hero's life. Does she run into a long lost love? Has he just lost his job? Maybe a mad scientist has discovered a way to flood the earth, and he wants to blackmail its governments for his own gain.

Once you create your protagonist (yes, a villainous character can be your protagonist), you need to create his or her opponent, or antagonist. Think about what your protagonist wants most, and when you come up with two or three ideas you really like, think about who might want to keep them from attaining those goals. Once you have several of these possible antagonists, choose the one that shows the most promise, the one that most excites you. Does her best friend love her? Is he jealous of her old lover, and will he stop at nothing to get rid of her old flame? Will the jobless man's wife leave him because he can no longer support her? Or will she get a job of her own and leave him to stay home with the children--a Mr. Mom, so to speak? Will an FBI agent on the verge of quitting discover the mad scientist's plans and find a new reason to continue to serve and protect the American people? Or does he have a history with the scientist and want to assassinate him for completely different reasons, thus using the man's plans as justification to get rid of him?

And there are many other possibilities. You are only limited by your imagination. Don't dismiss any idea as too crazy or too stupid or too impossible, at least not until you gather all your ideas and start weeding through them. In the brainstorming stage, you don't want to discount any ideas that show some kind of promise.

Look everywhere for ideas. The news, magazine articles, real life. You might get the seed of an idea from one place, then get ideas from other sources to work in with it. Combine ideas until you hit upon the story you want to write, then flesh it out. Create your world, populate it, and have fun doing it. Fun is important! Passion is vital.

And if the passion wanes, don't throw it away or send it to the recycle bin. File it away for later. There might be elements—characters or settings or situations, maybe even just a few snappy lines of dialog—that you'll want to use somewhere else later. If boredom with your story overtakes you, remember that it's a natural part of the process. Not all stories keep us excited all the time. If you can't seem to revive your fire right now, file it away and move on to something else that sparks your interest.

Where do you get your story ideas? How do you go about creating the basic story idea, setting, and characters? Do you start with a mood? A character? A question?

lmeighmy: (Animated Harvest & Raven)
Just checking my e-mail before I go workout, and I thought I'd update here. Things are going well. I got a new test kit for the aquariums, and I tested them all yesterday. Everything looks fairly good, but I need to get something to raise the pH level in the community tank. Monday (I think), we noticed we had two new baby guppies. Well, one of them has disappeared (likely eaten by one of the adult fish), but now we have four new teeny tiny baby guppies! :D They're so, so cute!

I've also begun buying Christmas cards. I wanted to send cards from Leanin' Tree, but they're more expensive than the ones I usually get, so I'm buying a few at a time. I love Leanin' Tree cards. :)

I've been doing a little writing. I'm working on a story for the roleplay, but I'm also writing backstories for some characters for another upcoming story idea. I also have another scene/short in mind for a story I've been thinking about for a while, but I haven't started it yet. But writing comes after homey stuff. I try to do things around the house in the mornings before I get online. This morning I just did the dishes and fed the fish. Normally, I'd be working out right now--or fixing breakfasts for the next few days, but I decided to wait a bit. I have to get some chili started in the slow cooker, and thought maybe I could work out before that, then take my shower afterward. I hope to get some writing in before my workout.

Boring enough for you? ;)

We've been hanging out at the kids' place on Tuesday nights. We switched it because Eric prefers any other weeknight to Fridays, but we can switch once in a while if we need to. Anyway, Eric's trying to get me to convince Jeff to work out with him. I'm trying, but it's not easy. I'm not hounding him or anything, but I want Jeff to be in good physical shape.

As for me, I've started doing Leslie Sansone's Walk Slim: 5 Really Big Miles. It's a lot of fun, but hard! The farthest I've gotten so far is just a little past the three mile mark. But that's okay. I'm easing into it. I want to be fit, but I don't want to kill myself doing it! :P Anyway, in spite of how hard it is--or because of it--I'm having a lot of fun. I can't wait to work out again today!

Have a good one!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Ben Hill: Casual)
I know I haven't posted anything here in a really long time, so I thought I'd tell you what's been going on here--even if it's a bit boring. ;)

I'm getting over a bout with the flu. Lots of coughing, fever and chills early on, but it's getting better. I haven't been able to work out in a while, and I've missed it. Just don't want to start up again too soon. I've done that, and I had a relapse. I want to be careful so I get over this bug.

Speaking of working out, I'd been doing some Walk Fit and Walk Strong workouts. The Walk Strong workout uses hand weights, and I loved it, but I wanted something new. I finally got a DVD I'd been eyeing for a short time: Leslie Sansone's Walk Slim: 5 Really Big Miles. I haven't had a chance to try it yet. I got sick just after. I hope to start it later this week. There's another DVD I'd like to get, as well: Leslie Sansone: Ultimate 5 Day Walk Plan. And this: Leslie Sansone: Walk It Off & Tone It Up (2011). I just found out about her Walk By Faith series, a "Christian inspired workout series," too. Wow! :D Anyway, I plan to get back into the ones I have, at least. Some of the reviews for these, from actual users, are very inspirational.

I'm still writing, though not quite as much. I've hardly written anything since I first came down with the flu, but what I am working on, I'm having a lot of fun with. 10K Day is coming up next Wednesday, and I plan to put in as much time as I can in my AAU story, as that's the one I'm concentrating on right now.

We had bad storms come through this past weekend. There was a tornado in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I think that's about an hour from us, maybe 45 minutes. That was the first one I'd heard about. I lost track after that, but I know there were a ton of them--over 120 tornadoes altogether. Anyone know of any companies that are hiring in areas that rarely/never get tornadoes? ;)

Jeff and I have started going over to Eric and Chelsey's place once a week to use their bandwidth and hang out with them. We're going twice this week, though. We're going to play some Dictionary Dabble with them tonight. :) I'll be downloading some episodes of Highlander: The Series and Full Metal Jousting while I'm there, too.

And I got a new phone--a Samsung Captivate Glide! I absolutely love it, but it's so tempting to go above and beyond the 300MB data plan. Thankfully, I can use Wi-fi when we're out, too!

Other than what I've mentioned, there's not really much going on here. Still roleplaying and having a ball with Lucky Raven, but I think Dakota has taken over as king. And then there's Doc, as well. I'm still kind of feeling him out, but I'm getting a good handle on his character. As far as which character's my favorite though? I'd have to say Dakota--by a long shot. He's becoming everything I envisioned him to be, and then some. I also need to do some work with Lucky, and I look forward to it, even if it will be slow going. :)

I've also started my own private blog over on Word Press. Just a place to vent and dream and other stuff.

I'd better go. I need to start getting my stuff together for tonight.

Have a good one!

lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)
Today was Wednesday Writing Sprints over at Patti's Blog, not 10K Day. I wasn't shooting for 10K--at least I didn't start out the day with that goal in mind. But I sometimes have the habit of checking my word count frequently. Today, I checked it each time I finished working on something. And when my word count got up over 8K, I knew I had to try for 10K. I'm glad I did. That's the most writing I've done in one day in a long time! :D

So, I wrote part of a story for the roleplay, then went on to write a bunch of diary entries (notes, story ideas, shorts). By the end of the day, my word count total rose to 10,436!

And now, it's late. I need to get off here and get ready for bed!


lmeighmy: Found Photo. I Do NOT hold the copyright and am only using it for entertainment purposes. (Typewriter)

Getting your first draft written is a major strategic goal in writing your novel. But how do you get there? You need what I call a "creative paradigm" -- a method for doing your creative work. Creation tends to be messy and chaotic and hard. Your first draft is all about creation. Once you've got your first draft written, you'll be able to focus on editing, which is a whole other game. But you'll never have anything to edit until you've first created it, so in this article, let's worry only about the creative part.

When I was writing my book, WRITING FICTION FOR DUMMIES, my editor believed that there is one best creative paradigm to get that first draft done. She thought it was "obvious" that you should write an outline first, then write your novel sticking tightly to the outline. If that were the only possible creative paradigm, a lot of great books would never have been written. Plenty of authors simply can't write a novel from an outline. Their brains aren't wired that way.

In my book, I identified four common creative paradigms for getting to that first draft. Here they are:

* "Seat of the pants." When you write by the seat of your pants, you don't know how the story is going to end. You typically don't even know what's going to happen on the next page. You just sit down and start typing.

Stephen King writes by the seat of his pants, and he's done all right with it. So has Jerry Jenkins, author of the LEFT BEHIND series of apocalyptic novels. This is a very common road to the first draft. If you're a seat-of-the-pants writer (often called an SOTP), then don't try to change yourself. There's nothing wrong with you. There's nothing wrong with your method. However, when your first draft is done, there'll be a lot wrong with your manuscript. It'll be a big brick of paper with a wandering story that had no planning, and so it's going to need major revisions. That's the biggest problem with writing by the seat of your pants.

Most SOTP writers love the revision process, so they aren't intimidated by the fact that they're going to have to do a lot of it. Once the first draft is done, for them the real fun begins.

Sometimes the SOTP creative paradigm is called "organic" writing. In my view, this label really doesn't make any sense. Seat-of-the-pants writing is no more natural than any other creative paradigm and it doesn't produce inherently better final products.

* "Edit as you go." This creative paradigm is similar to writing by the seat of your pants except that you don't go very far before you stop and edit what you just wrote. Maybe every page. Maybe every scene. But you edit it. And edit it again. And again. Until it's perfect. Only then do you move on.

This is a fairly slow way to write a first draft, because you may revise a single page 20 times before you move on. It may seem like your progess is frozen-slug slow. But when the draft is done, the book is done. It's as perfect as you're going to make it. That's one of the nice things about the edit-as-you-go creative paradigm. You don't have a long extended phase of revisions to do after you finish the first draft. You just turn it in and move on to the next project.

Dean Koontz is a well-known edit-as-you-go writer, and his results speak for themselves. This method is fairly rare, but if it's your style, then it's your style and you probably can't imagine doing it any other way.

* "Outlining." Many writers simply can't face the idea of writing a first draft unless they know where they're going. All the way, in detail. So they first write an "outline." This is NOT the multi-level outline that you learned in fifth grade, using bullet points labeled with Roman numerals, letters and numbers. Instead, a novel "outline" is a synopsis, a narrative summary of the story, told in present tense and focusing on the plot, but possibly including some discussions of character development. Your outline may be a short synopsis of two pages, the typical length that you'd submit to an editor when trying to sell your book. It may be a twenty page synopsis with every scene sketched in. It may be a 150 page tome that functions as a very short first draft.

Robert Ludlum was famous for writing enormously long synopses for his spy novels. Many other writers over the years have found that they can't write a novel without an outline. If you're an outliner, then outline and be proud of it. Don't let anyone tell you that you're somehow more rigid and less natural than an SOTP. Write your novel the way you want to write it. If outlining works for you, then use it.

* "The Snowflake method." If I'm famous for anything, it's for inventing this creative paradigm, which I named after the famous "snowflake fractal" from pure mathematics. The main idea of the Snowflake is that you start small with one single story concept and then flesh it out in a succession of steps, each time adding more detail. You alternately work on the plot and the characters until you've got a strategic plan to guide you in writing your first draft.

In early 2003, I posted an article on my web site spelling out the Snowflake method. I had used the method to write my first published novel, and it just felt natural to me. (I used a very early version of the Snowflake to write my Ph.D. thesis in physics when I was at Berkeley back in 1986.) I've been pleased that the Snowflake has taken off massively all around the world. The Snowflake article on my web site has been viewed over 2 million times. Clearly, it struck a nerve. But I'm the first to tell you that it's not the only way to write a novel. If it works for you, then use it. Otherwise, find another road to nirvana.

How do you decide what creative paradigm you should use to write your novel?

I suspect that in reading the descriptions of the four paradigms above, one of them seemed natural to you and the others seemed unnatural. In that case, try the one that sounds natural. It's a good bet that your brain is wired to use that method. You may find that none of them seem natural. In that case, try each one for a month or so. See what works. When your book is published, nobody is going to know or care which creative paradigm you used to write your first draft. They'll care about whether your story works. Your story has the best chance of working if you write it using a creative paradigm that suits you. If you want to know more about each of the four paradigms, then feel free to consult chapter 4 of my book, WRITING FICTION FOR DUMMIES, which has much more detail than I've had room for here.


A Special Deal From Larry

My friend, Larry Brooks, just e-mailed me a few days ago to let me know that his latest e-book is now available, WARM HUGS FOR WRITERS. It includes over 30 chapters, each containing a short essay on a nugget of wisdom about writing that Larry learned the hard way.

Larry's got a special deal going right now for his book. Just do these two things:
  • Buy WARM HUGS FOR WRITERS on Larry's web site or from Amazon.
  • Send Larry an email containing the electronic receipt, with the words "Randy Sent Me" in the subject line.
If you do those two things, Larry will send you a bonus e-book -- your choice of one of several of his other e-books on the craft of fiction or one of his e-book novels.

To find out all about WARM HUGS FOR WRITERS and see the list of bonus e-books Larry's offering and get his email address, check out this page: http://storyfix.com/warm-hugs-for-writers

Larry always has good things to say about the craft of writing. He's one of my most respected teachers of fiction writing. And by the way, he's also a heck of a good novelist.

No, Larry didn't pay me to say any of that. I just like his stuff. A lot. You might too.


This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "Snowflake Guy," publishes the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 29,000 readers, every month. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.


February 2016

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