I pride myself on my ability to adapt in order to deliver exactly what a client wants, and I enjoy it when this forces me into learning a new skill. So when I was asked to research Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method for a project this week, I was excited. I listened to an interview with him, read about the method, and began applying it to the project. The job is still a work in progress, so I can’t claim to have trialled The Snowflake Method in full yet, but I am very hopeful that it’s going to be a game-changer for me when it comes to my own fiction projects.
My brain is a bit like pick-up-sticks: lots of solid, brightly coloured thoughts that get tangled up and can’t be moved without disturbing the others. It means I can easily lose track of ideas and forget how I intend them to relate to each other. The Snowflake Method is essentially about building the story out from a small centre – just as you can draw a snowflake by pulling points out from the lines of two overlapping triangles. It keeps everything organised and under-control, and you can’t lose sight of the essence of the story because it’s right there at the heart of it.
The way I wrote my first novel was scatter-brained. It’s true that it resulted in a story that I’m pretty proud of, but it took a very long time and a lot of frustration to get it there. I’m hopeful that using the principles of The Snowflake Method, at least to get a fiction project off the ground, might be really useful to me when I come to write my next novel.
When I worked in primary schools, I was more passionate about teaching the children how to learn than I was about what to learn, and this is exactly why: being willing, eager and able to learn opens so many doors and paths throughout life. Each project I’ve taken on since I started my freelance journey has been a learning opportunity, and each new skill feeds into the next project. I’m excited to find out what will come next.