I already had the story for my book in my head. It is a love story about a young woman who travels to America as an Au Pair. If you know me, it sounds very familiar to you, since I traveled to America as an Au Pair myself. I was inspired to write this story by my own experiences there. But I have to say that it is not a true story!
After I decided to give the snowflake method a chance, I started my project around the beginning of August. This method is a technique to turn your idea into a novel. It is a guide consisting of ten steps and is therefore very easy to learn. If you want to hear more about this method, you are welcome to have a look at my last post here. But now i talk about my own experiences during the planning phase.
Many things will change
Although the idea was there from the beginning, the snowflake method changed a lot of my story. As soon as you have a story, you start to have ideas of how you want to realize it. But you don’t think enough about whether all of these ideas work with each other. The first two steps of the snowflake method did not require me to change anything. I had a hard time finding the right words, but the ideas remained as they were. In step 3 I wrote down the storylines for the main characters and when comparing the storylines with each other I noticed some “errors”. By this I mean logical errors in the story. After that I changed ideas which didn’t fit or didn’t make sense in every step of the method.
Adjust the snowflake method
The snowflake method is great – I stick to this opinion! Nevertheless I had problems with certain steps and adapted them a little bit to fit my needs. I had a lot of trouble with step 7 – the character sheets. I really wanted to master this step properly. But I soon realized that the detailed planning of the characters is not my strength at all. So I skipped this step at the beginning.
Since I had already written a summary at step 6, I gave it to four people to read and give me feedback. Many of my readers, who are writing themselves, are probably completely surprised! Because giving your story to someone to read is a challenge to overcome. But sooner or later this is necessary and with me it was sooner rather than later. My friends and family have also given me constructive feedback. In fact, I did change a lot of things afterwards. Even one catastrophe in my book was completely removed. I’m not 100% sure what I’m replacing it with but I already have an idea. After the feedback I decided to try step 7 and started the character sheets. I’m now adding new facts to them from time to time while writing. To make it a bit easier for you than for me, I created a template for the charactersheets. You can find it under Downloads right here. After I continued with step 8 but I didn’t do it all at once. I write down my scenes from time to time.
The whole planning phase took me about one month. But it was time well spent! As you can see, it is very important to have a planning phase before writing, because you save a lot of work later on. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to completely rewrite the one catastrophe in my book after I had already put the whole story down on paper. So take your time to plan your book and give the summary to someone to read. If you don’t like the snowflake method, you can adapt it to your own needs just like I did. You might also find other methods that help you with your book.