Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Good Stuff

Sorry! I said I'd post about my awesome RWA meeting yesterday, but then I had no time. I actually spent the day shopping with a friend, and then I picked up the boys and stayed busy till bedtime. And then today, I had the best of intentions, but I was called to substitute at Mother's Day Out. A little bit tougher than I remember from last year. This was only the second day of school for the little two-year-olds, and there was a lot of crying. I also had a Kindergarten Cop moment when one little girl told me during lunch that babies come out of women's vaginas. Good to know.

So anyway...on to the Saturday presentation. Basically it was a combination of two really interesting ideas. One was the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson, which is basically a way of building up your story from the bottom up. Start with a single, descriptive, carefully honed sentence that describes your WIP or the book you're wanting to write. This is your high concept to be used as a teaser for editors and agents, in promotional materials and on your website, for marketing and publicity, etc. When you're happy with your sentence, you move on to a paragraph describing your book. Then to paragraphs describing your characters. Then take each sentence of your summary paragraph and expand it into a paragraph and when you're through you'll have a one page outline of your book. You get the idea... I think I'll try this (or at least part of it) before I attempt Fast Draft on my next book.

The other part of the presentation was on screenwriter Michael Hague's Six Stage Plot Structure, which breaks a book down into three acts, with six stages, and five turning points evenly distributed throughout the story (a big boost for a sagging middle). There's also a rule of thumb, percentage-wise, on how far along in the story these things should happen. I'm comparing it to my current WIP and finding it a very useful way of looking at things.

So that's it, in a nutshell. Just tools for getting started and refining what you already have.


Vicki said...

"also had a Kindergarten Cop moment"

That's priceless memories. :) I miss the days when my kids were that age and I did the Mom at school stuff.

Sounds like you had a great meeting!! Michael Hague is actually coming to our TARA retreat in Feb. I'm so excited. He's doing the whole weekend. This one is for TARA members only because of that.

The Snowflake Method is a great tool. With all your new info you'll be even more amazing then you are now. :D

Sarakastic said...

Wow I have a whole new respect for writer's after reading this. I knew that a lot went into the process, but WOW

Christine d'Abo said...

It sounds like you had an awesome session. I'll have to read up on those methods later.

And LOL with the Kindergarten Cop moment. I love kids for just that reason.

Sara Hantz said...

I love the snowflake method - I use it for plot (not characters) and stop once I do the spreadsheet!!

Catherine Avril Morris said...

Wow, that snowflake method sounded kinda implausible until you explained it a little more and then...maybe it'll really work. Let us know if you do end up trying it! I'm curious!