It is said that there are two kinds of writers in terms of approaching a project. The Pansters and the Planners.
Pansters are the kind of fly by the seat of your pants (hence the name) kind of writers who don’t know where their story is going to start. Or finish for that matter. They go with the flow which ever way it may take them. One of the disadvantages reported of this approach is the danger of becoming stuck because there is no plan and the danger of having multiple unfinished projects gathering dust on the shelf.
Planners on the other hand, are the opposite, naturally. They have a plan, know where they are going, what’s going to happen when, and for that reason find it easier to deal with writers block. However, the disadvantage is that the plans can become too rigid and leave little room for change without a lot of work re-doing outlines.
If you had asked me several years ago which camp I fell in it would definitely be the first. And yes, I had in excess of six, yes 6, manuscripts all gathering that proverbial dust. But, I’m not a natural planner either, my brain is not that organised to know what I’m doing before I do it and I like to make diversions where I can.
So I guess I’m the third kind of writer (a Planster?) who falls between these two camps and with the help of the Snowflake method, I’ve learnt how to create a successful approach for my projects. Remember… I don’t profess to have any right answers. I just share what works for me. The Snowflake method allows me to combine both Pansting – I’m not sure that’s a verb 🙂 – and Planning.
It starts from the most simple premise possible, a one sentence story summary. From there nine more steps combine both plot and character development, each building on from the last step, making it very easy to go back and change things that will affect the final outcome, a detailed scene list. The system is essentially about growing your story so that you have a template from which to work from and discovers and identifies the plot holes, flat one dimensional characters and arcs before you start. So the flexibility of being a free spirit with the ability to easily re-trace your steps. What could be more perfect?
What’s more, Randy Ingermanson the creator of this method, helpfully recommends how much time you should spend on each step. This is helpful in understanding how long it will take you before you start writing the story but also will indicate if you are spending too much time on analysis and need to buckle down and start.
To find out more about the step and this method here are some resources you can consult and make up your own mind…
- Snowflake Method an overview on the Reedsy Blog
- Advanced Fiction Writing – the full story on Randy’s site
- Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method – written by Randy, this is one of the most useful books I own on novel writing….