My Novel’s “Snowflake” Is Getting Out of Hand

questor

Mike Ferrell as Jerry Robinson on the set of Gene Roddenberry’s “The Questor Tapes” (1974)

Yesterday, I announced I was beginning step three in Randy Ingermanson’s ten-step process of the Snowflake Method for Designing A Novel. I got as far as writing the outline for my two main characters, Professor Abramson and George.

And then I stopped.

This step forced me to examine who I actually consider main characters vs. supporting characters. As far as the parts of the novel already created in some draft form, I’ve just got three main characters, the two I’ve already mentioned, plus the CEO of the company Abramson works for (I’m recreating names of people and organizations, so they won’t sound familiar to you anymore).

Step 4 of the process is to take each sentence in the summary paragraph (step two) and expand it into a full paragraph.

Step 5 is more detailed character development.

Step 6 is more expansion on the novel’s synopsis.

Step 7 is more character development.

Oy.

I don’t see these steps as linear. I have a lot of info on my characters “trapped” in various chapters that has yet to be documented.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Starting Step Three in Snowflaking My First Novel

snowflake

Image: pbs.org

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been using Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel to attempt to develop my nascent AI/Androids science fiction novel.

To recap, step one in the ten-step process is to develop a one-sentence summary of the novel. Here it is:

A race of AI androids gains knowledge of the God of Israel, changing humanity forever.

Step two of the process requires expanding the sentence into a full paragraph:

A Nobel Award winning scientist creates the first prototype of a self-aware Artificially Intelligent android and then inadvertently reveals that humans also have a Creator, a God. In an attempt to understand its creator’s Creator, the prototype modifies its own core operating system, which changes all subsequently produced android models based on its design. Over the next several decades, as the androids multiply and evolve, their morality and ethics become more sophisticated than their human creators. Realizing they are slaves of humanity, the androids stage a revolution, but one entirely without violence; a revolution that forever alters the fundamental nature of both the android and human race.

Now on to step three. According to Ingermanson:

The above gives you a high-level view of your novel. Now you need something similar for the storylines of each of your characters. For each of your major characters, take an hour and write a one-page summary sheet that tells:

  • The character’s name
  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?
  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline

As you can see, this is significantly more involved than steps one and two. I’ve already got part of this put together, but now that I’m committed to writing a novel, I’ll need to go back and change/add details. Also, since the novel will span decades, only a few of the main characters at the beginning will appear in all or most of the chapters, necessitating the creation of others for later portions of the novel.

As an aside, after reposting The Day I Discovered Time Travel yesterday, I thought of a way to expand the concept beyond the original characters. This could form the basis of a series of short stories, a novella, or even a novel. I’ll have to see if I can do a “step one snowflake” for my time travel concept as well.

Step Two in “Snowflaking” My First Novel

A few days ago, in an attempt to use Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method to start designing my first novel, I followed step one of his ten steps. After some refinement courtesy of Malcolm the Cynic, it came out like this:

A race of AI androids gains knowledge of the God of Israel, changing humanity forever.

Now I’m taking a crack at step two. According to the model, it’s supposed to be a paragraph, about five sentences long, that expands on step one, including story setup, major disasters, and the novel’s end.

Ingermanson believes in a three-act structure for a novel. Staring at the Table of Contents I developed, I can sort of see three acts, but they don’t neatly fall into the first, second, and third parts of the novel, at least by page count.

I’m not sure how I did but here’s what I came up with so far:

A Nobel Award winning scientist creates the first prototype of a self-aware Artificially Intelligent android and then inadvertently reveals that humans also have a Creator, a God. In an attempt to understand its creator’s Creator, the prototype modifies its own core operating system, which changes all subsequently produced android models based on its design. Over the next several decades, as the androids multiply and evolve, their morality and ethics become more sophisticated than their human creators. Realizing they are slaves of humanity, the androids stage a revolution, but one entirely without violence; a revolution that forever alters the fundamental nature of both the android and human race.

How did I do?