Tag Archives: Characters

Adapted Snowflake Method: How I’m writing my novel at the moment

I’m currently in the early stages of actually writing my novel Hell has its Demons at the moment. Because of the complexity of writing within a historical background I have been taking a carefully planned approach to writing and employing the techniques of the snowflake method, where you build up the plot structure of the novel gradually, while alternating between planning aspects such as character background. The last two stages of the snowflake process are to go through the whole plot of the book and write a synopsis of each chapter. I have started doing this and also used this as an opportunity to work out at each stage how much actual background material I need. For instance which part of a castle or Abbey do I actually need to describe and plan, which minor characters will be featured, what’s their role and what do I need to know about them. This method has worked fairly well so far.

But I also thought that while I was doing that I would start on the first couple of chapters of the book as well, just to get myself in the mood for working with my characters. And this is when I had a revelation about how I wrote. I found that I started to find out new things about the characters and the situations I was putting them in as actually put the words, sentences and paragraphs on screen that described their thoughts and actions. Mapping a list of what occurred in a chapter or even detailing the character arc in a chapter just wasn’t the same. Only when I came to writing what the characters did and how they talked and felt did I really start to know them.

So where does that leave the process of writing Hell has its Demons?

I think the principles are still the same. I find it useful to work out beforehand what will happen in each chapter and also do some work on researching and creating the settings and minor characters that my characters will interact with, before I actually write the narrative. But I think what I will do from now on is to plan each chapter just before I write it or perhaps be planning  few chapters ahead, so that I don’t lose touch with the development of my characters.

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Hell has its Demons update and a question about flashbacks

I am happy to announce that I am progressing at a reasonably steady pace on Hell has its Demons. I have finished my character dossiers and I am now on the pleasant task of writing chapter summaries. Each of these includes notes on what happens in the chapter, what the main conflicts are, how the character arcs develop, and also notes on any minor characters or settings that I haven’t already detailed. At the moment I am doing about one of these a day, although I suspect this may slow a bit when I get to scenes with more complicated settings, such as the Abbey, and/or those scenes with more minor characters.

I came across an interesting challenge in scene/chapter 4 this week. I posted about it over at sffchronicles. Here’s the problem I was having:

I‘ve got a writing issue that I want to resolve. I want one of my characters to tell another character about his past, but without him just telling the other character – I want to make the back story dramatic if possible, so I guess a flash back might be a way of doing that, but then that doesn’t fit very well with one character telling the other character.

Any ideas? I’m currently a little bit stuck on how to manage this part of my narrative.

I have already had a couple of good suggestions left on the forum, but if any readers of this blog have some good suggestions I would be happy to hear them, and you never know you could get a namecheck in my book if/when it comes out!

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