Structure Saturdays

I’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly to write on this blog. I kind of just…hopped into blogging as a way to document the whole Milwordy experiment and didn’t have much of a plan for what I’d actually say. The updates and what I’ve learned are obvious, though I worry that will get boring with time. After all, there’s probably only so much I can say before it gets repetitive and who really wants to keep reading me say, “I wrote a bunch of words this week!” and “Ouch! My wrists!”?

Maybe you do, I don’t know. If I was honest about how repetitive the content I like to consume can be, maybe I would worry less. Or maybe I would just realize how boring I am. I don’t know.

Anyway, I want to do something that I always enjoy seeing another writer do. I want to take you through my whole outlining process, start to finish.

The problem? I don’t have a single solid outlining process. I’ve tried a lot of different things for a lot of different books and I’ve never quite found THE ONE, you know? The golden process that I can set in stone and will make writing easy forever and ever and ever.

Yeah, okay so that probably doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep trying, does it?

Here’s what I’m proposing: Since I’m going to need to start outlining new stories for Milwordy (as I have realized the pile of story ideas I already have waiting for me to write are not actually going to get me all the way to August 31, 2021), I thought I would give a few different outlining methods a test drive and see what works best. I don’t know how this is going to pan out. This might be a terrible idea, but isn’t that what Milwordy all about? Challenging yourself with potentially terrible ideas?

So, I had to pick an outlining method to start with. There are A LOT to choose from. But, after much careful deliberation, I decided to go with The Snowflake Method! If you don’t know, this method posits that you can build a novel by starting with a small idea and then, step-by-step building it into a full outline.

This is one that I’ve tried before, though I haven’t ever done the whole thing, in fact I’m not sure I even got halfway. It’s a lengthy process and definitely not for pantsers, which honestly I have yet to actually work out whether I’m a true plotter or pantser. That’s a subject for a whole other blog. I’m excited to try The Snowflake Method again, though. I want to give it my best shot this time and see what my results are. Plus, it’s a method that will actually give me a lot of words just in the outline because it actually requires (eventually) writing out pages worth of descriptions about the book. In fact, the founder of this method, Randy Ingermanson, says that it generally results in a 50-page outline for him (that’s like 12,500 words!). So even if the method doesn’t end up working, I’ll still be getting a lot of words, and I will finally know that this is an outlining method I can cross off my list forever.

But who knows? Maybe this will be THE ONE. I can only hope.

Though I would like to take a week for each of the 10 steps, there are only 6 weeks until NaNoWriMo, and I would like to have the outline done by then. So, in the next week I’m going to be doing the first three steps of the method. They are the easiest, and the first two at least should only take a couple of hours anyway, so I don’t mind piling on a little here in the beginning. On Saturdays (which I am dubbing Structure Saturdays from now on) I will come back with an update on my progress. If you’re interested in trying The Snowflake Method along with me (Preptober is almost here!) You can find the steps here. Essentially, the first three steps are as follows:

  1. Write a sentence that describes your novel (15 words or less).
  2. Expand the sentence into a paragraph that describes your novel.
  3. Create a brief character chart for your characters (at least for the major ones)

I strongly encourage you to go check out the website for further information about each of these steps, because there is more to it than what I’ve written here, but I wanted to give you the basic idea.

Let me know what you think of this outlining experiment and if you’ll be joining me in trying out The Snowflake Method.

Don’t be shy about liking and sharing the blog, and follow me here or on Instagram and Twitter if you want to keep track of my Milwordy progress.


Published by Robin J

I’m an aspiring novelist who hasn’t quite figured out this whole writing thing. I’ve been scribbling down stories since I was a little kid, but only dared to dream that I could write something worth reading as I became an adult. At 33, I still feel like I have a lot of progress to make before I’m ready to try publishing, but I’m getting better every day. Typically I write Fantasy (of both the Adult and YA varieties), but I have dipped my toe in Romance and Sci-Fi. When coming up with a story to write, all I care about is that the plot grabs my attention and the characters tug at my heartstrings. The genre is an afterthought. I tend to set myself lofty goals. Mostly I fail, but occasionally I surprise myself and succeed. Either way, I enjoy being pushed beyond the limits of what I thought I could do. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with the Milwordy challenge. I may or may not reach the full million words, but I know I’m going to learn a lot along the way. I hope you will, too!

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