Deanne Ouest, Author

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Plotter, Pantser or Snowflake


It has been an interesting journey so far. I tried to be a plotter and outline everything. I really did. I would get so far and then feel myself being drained and losing interest. Then I tried to just let it all go and be a pantser but then I drifted and was all over the place. I was getting frustrated trying to find my groove. Where did I fit?

Then I came across this great book “How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method” by Randy Ingermanson. Wow!  I finally found a process that spoke to me. I really enjoyed this book. I loved how he explained the process by telling it in a story. Goldilocks, the bears, a wolf and a pig. It sounds hokey but for me it worked and kept me engaged. I could see the process in my mind as the book progressed.

I found it a nice balance between plotting and being a pantser. The interesting part for me is that he used a snowflake fractal as an example of how the process works. The best non-mathematical explanation I have come up with for explaining a fractal is simply “repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing loop”. You can find out more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal

This intrigued me as I stumbled across fractals several years ago in a display of yearly calendars. I bought the calendar because I really loved the pictures and have been fascinated by fractals ever since. The pictures below are all different representations of fractals. I just find them really interesting to look at.

My interpretation of the method in the book is similar to the repeating process. Building on what you already have and expanding it as you move forward. It’s what is working for me – at least for now.  As the pictures depict, the process can create some incredible visuals, I hope for the same results in my writing.


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