Start Your Story With Something Simple

People often ask authors, “So, what’s your book about?”

This means that an author needs a quick “elevator pitch.” An elevator pitch is a brief description of the story that can be given in the amount of time it takes to complete an elevator ride.

The author should create this brief synopsis of the story at the very beginning of the novel-writing process.

Randy Ingermanson, a physicist and writer, has defined the “Snowflake Method” of writing.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 4.30.30 PM

It makes a lot of sense.

Look at the diagrams below. The Koch Snowflake is a mathematical concept, but it applies to writing, as well.

Start with the basics and add the details.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 8.11.01 AM


How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method is jammed full of great ideas.

I like Randy Ingermanson’s list of steps on how to write a novel. (He includes more details for each step in the book.)

Step 1: Write a one-sentence summary.

Step 2: Write a one-paragraph summary

Step 3: Write a summary sheet for each character.

Step 4: Write a short one-page synopsis.

Step 5: Write a character synopsis for each character.

Step 6: Write a long four-page synopsis.

Step 7: Write a character Bible for each character.

Step 8: Write a list of all the scenes.

Step 9: Write a plan for each scene.

Step 10: Write your novel.

AA koch_animation(Matthew Francis)

You might be concerned that your novel will get too long if you work this way. The “Koch Snowflake” never expands beyond a certain point even as it becomes more complex. Similarly, your novel should be restrained to a reasonable number of pages.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 8.13.41 AM(Matthew Francis)

Today’s Assignment:

Complete step one.