Writing A Novel Is Hard Work!
We Just Made It Easier.
A Lot Easier.
I’m Randy Ingermanson, known around the world as “the Snowflake Guy” in honor of my “Snowflake method” for designing and analyzing novels. I’ve written six award-winning novels. Before those, I wrote a few that never got published. Each story was tough to write. But the later novels were a LOT easier than the earlier ones.
Why? Because one day I realized it was simpler to design my storylines and create my characters BEFORE I wrote my novels. That way, I was able to spend more of my writing time being creative and less of my writing time worrying about whether it was all going to fit together into a cohesive design.
Years ago, I put my ideas together into an organizational tool I call the “Snowflake method”. That has become the most popular page on my web site and has been viewed over a million times. The Snowflake method is used by novelists all over the world.
If you want to know what people say about the Snowflake method, Google “Snowflake method.”You’ll find that some people love it and some don’t. That’s because different people are different, which is fine by me. The important point is that zillions of people around the world use the Snowflake method, including a number of published authors.
A Challenge To Work Hard
The bad news is that the Snowflake method makes you work. Let’s not fool ourselves that writing fiction is easy. If it were, everybody would be writing great fiction. Writing a novel is hard. The Snowflake method helps you organize your ideas, but it also makes you work. Hard.
The Snowflake method has ten steps that include a high-concept story idea, a Three-Act Structure, a detailed character analysis, a synopsis, a scene list, and more. That’s some serious thinking you need to do.
The good news is that I’ve written software to make it as simple and fun as I know how to work through the first nine steps of the Snowflake method (everything but step 10, writing the actual first draft–you can already do that in any word processor). I’ve got more than twenty years of experience writing software. So I wrote a program, Snowflake Pro, to make the steps of working through the Snowflake method a joy — at least for me.
I added in four examples of Snowflake analyses of popular books and movies. (I’d like to thank my daughter Carolyn, who’s an English Literature major, for helping me write these four example Snowflakes.) They’re all included in Snowflake Pro:
- Gone With the Wind
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Pride and Prejudice
Seeing the Big Picture
Many writers have a hard time explaining their story to agents or editors. The Snowflake method asks you to define a one-sentence summary and then expand that to a Three-Act Structure. That takes some thinking. It forces you to really understand your own story.
Understanding Your Characters
Several of the steps in the Snowflake method ask you to define your characters and then to get to know them — really well. This pays huge dividends in your fiction writing. The better you understand your characters, the more real they’ll seem to your readers.
Lining Up Your Scenes
A modern novel has dozens of scenes – often more than a hundred. Managing all those scenes is hard, because they cover hundreds of pages in your manuscript. A Scene List allows you to see all your scenes at a glance. Snowflake Pro makes it easy to create and edit your Scene List. You can import your scenes directly from your synopsis, edit scenes, move them around, add new scenes, delete scenes that aren’t working, and estimate the page count of your story. And a whole lot more.
Creating a Proposal — At The Press of a Button!
Many editors and agents insist on receiving a book proposal for your novel. There’s nothing complicated about a proposal. It spells out a suggested business partnership between you and a potential publisher, explaining the risks and rewards of publishing your novel.
The good news? Many of the pieces of a book proposal are actually steps in the Snowflake method.
So I added a bonus step in Snowflake Pro. This is not part of the Snowflake method; it’s just a little goodie that I threw in as an extra feature because I had all the information needed:
At the press of a button, Snowflake Pro will write the skeleton of a book proposal for your novel. If you do all of the first six steps in the Snowflake method, they’ll all go straight into the correct places in your proposal. If you skip steps, that’s OK – Snowflake Pro will leave empty slots in your proposal, with directions on how to fill them in.
Snowflake Pro will also write in empty slots for things like your market analysis and marketing plan which are NOT part of the Snowflake method — along with some savvy suggestions on how to fill in these essential parts.
Just press that button and Snowflake Pro will save your proposal skeleton as an RTF file on your hard drive — ready for you to load into any word processor, where you can then fill in all the details. (RTF files are universal. All word processors can read them.)
If you’ve ever tried to write a book proposal, you know that the hardest part is just getting started. What should go in and what shouldn’t? How do you format it? How do you know if you’re doing it right?
Don’t be paralyzed by uncertainty. I love writing proposals. I’ve written many. One of my former editors teaches “how to write a proposal” at conferences all the time, using an old proposal that I sold to him years ago.
Use Snowflake Pro to get a running start on your proposal. And then use all the handy tipsSnowflake Pro embeds in the proposal to guide you in polishing it to a high sheen.
When you buy Snowflake Pro, you buy a license to run it on up to five of your own personal machines. If you have a laptop and a desktop computer and you own other computers that your spouse and kids use, you are licensed to install and run Snowflake Pro on all of them. Yes, really. That’s a very permissive license. In exchange for that, I ask that you not pirate Snowflake Pro. I try to do the right thing by you; thanks in advance for doing the right thing by me.
Will Snowflake Pro Run On Your Computer?
I wrote Snowflake Pro in a language called Java, which runs on ANY modern laptop or desktop computer, Mac, Windows, or Linux. If your computer was new within the last six years or so, you should be able to just download Snowflake Pro, install it, and run it. I’ve worked hard with my team of testers to make the whole process as simple and error-free as we can. See the System Requirements below. If we can’t get Snowflake Pro running on at least one of your computers, I’ll give you your money back, of course.
System Requirements: 15 MB of hard drive space. Java version 1.5 or later.
(Java comes installed on most modern computers. If you’re running Windows and Java isn’t already installed, Snowflake Pro will install it for you.) Here are the systems my team of testers have tested Snowflake Pro on:
- On Windows XP, you’re good.
- On Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8, you’re Xtremely good.
- On a Mac, (Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion), you’re Xceptionally good.
- On Linux, if you have any recent distribution with Java installed, you’re good.
Please note that tablets and phones are not laptops or desktop computers. Snowflake Pro does not run on an iPad, iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, Android device, or Microsoft Surface. We’ve hired an iPad programmer to develop a special version for iPad/iPod/iPhone. This will be a separate product, of course.
Free Upgrades For Life. No Kidding!
When you buy Snowflake Pro, you’re buying all future upgrades that I’ll ever make. As part of the purchase process, you’ll give me your e-mail address. My system will send you an e-mail whenever I upgrade Snowflake Pro. If I fix a bug, if I add a new example Snowflake, if I add a new feature to make Snowflake Pro even more powerful or easier to use, you get the upgrade. Almost instantly over the internet. Free.
I’m a novelist and I plan to use Snowflake Pro on every novel I ever write from now on. So you can bet your tulips that I’m going to make it work as well as possible, as easily as possible, and as reliably as possible. I’m a selfish guy, and I want my software to run perfectly. I’ve got a whole lot more control over Snowflake Pro than I have over that miserable, clunky word processor that I bought from You-Know-Who.
That’s why Snowflake Pro is ONLY available as an electronic download. I don’t ship you a CD. You download Snowflake Pro over the internet. That way whenever I create a new upgrade, my system will send you an e-mail telling you to download the latest version. That kind of upgrade policy just wouldn’t be cost-effective if I distributed Snowflake Pro on CDs. So I don’t do CDs.
Here’s What You Get in Snowflake Pro
Here are some of the key things you get in Snowflake Pro:
- An easy form to work through each of the key steps of the Snowflake method:
- Your one-sentence storyline. This is your most powerful selling tool for selling your book.
- Your one-paragraph summary. If somebody asks about your “Three-Act Structure,” this is it in one paragraph. Memorize it before you talk to editors or agents.
- Your character key info. Each character’s storygoals, ambition, epiphany, and other crucial information. If you don’t understand your characters, odds are it’s because you haven’t asked yourself the right questions yet.
- A one-page synopsis. Grow this naturally from your one-paragraph summary. This is your baseline for creating the synopsis you’ll need for your editor someday.
- Character sketches. These are terrific for inserting straight into a proposal because editors love character-oriented fiction.
- A four-page synopsis. Grow this out from your one-page synopsis. With this in hand, you’ll know all the important turns in your story.
- Character bibles. This is where you save all those pesky details you need to write three-dimensional characters. Take care of the details and your characters will take care of you.
- A scene list. You can get this rolling by importing one of your synopses, then tweak it so you have an overview of every scene in your novel. This makes rearranging scenes in your novel a breeze. Includes a word-count projection so you always can estimate how long your novel will be.
- Scene details. Any stray information that you need for each scene goes here. Don’t lose that info! Put it where you can’t miss it.
- Audio help on each stage of the Snowflake. If you’re an audio learner, this will help lock it into your memory.
- Text help on each stage of the Snowflake. If you need to see the words, this is for you.
- Four example Snowflakes to show you how it’s done:
- Gone With The Wind
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Pride and Prejudice
- A button to create the skeleton of your proposal. Click that button, and Snowflake Pro will write an RTF file that contains the core of a proposal. Don’t be paralyzed by doubt about how to write a proposal.
- The accumulated wisdom of 20+ years of a published novelist. I’ve published six novels. I’ve won about a dozen awards. The Snowflake method contains what I believe to be core to writing fiction. I have no patience for the fluff, so I left that out.
How Much Does It Cost?
I looked at various software tools for novelists in recent software review articles in Writer’s Digest. The trend was clear: The simple tools are free or very inexpensive. The complicated programs tend to be very pricey — hundreds of dollars.
I thought hard about those tools and their prices. I don’t want to make Snowflake Pro too expensive, because I want to give you good value for your money. But I also don’t want to price it too low, because I believe that people don’t value things that they get too cheap. I want you to value Snowflake Pro enough to use it.
Based on those thoughts I’m setting the price of Snowflake Pro at $100. I believe that’s a fair price that will repay the effort I’ve put into learning to write fiction, learning to teach it, and creating Snowflake Pro.
I believe it’s also a price that will encourage you to use it hard. $100 is not pocket change. If you spend that much on a product, then you’re probably serious about developing your craft. Over the years, I’ve found that the writers who put the most effort into their work are usually the ones who advance fastest in their craft. I love coaching the really hard workers.
I will ask you to follow the directions closely when you download and install Snowflake Pro. I tested these instructions first on a team of 25 alpha testers. Then I did a controlled release to a group of a few hundred former customers of mine. Then I did a major release to all the readers of my e-zine.
What I found is that the great majority of people downloaded and installed Snowflake Pro with no problems. When a person had trouble, most of the time the problem was because they didn’t follow the directions. In a few cases, we found problems with the installer and I’ve corrected every glitch that we know how to correct. In some cases, there are bugs in Windows that we now know how to solve — if you follow those pesky directions.
So please read the directions. I know it’s a pain. I hate reading directions. But I can assure you that it’s quicker for you to read them than to send me an e-mail and then wait for me to type those same directions and e-mail them back to you. I’m a fast typist, but I can’t answer your e-mail instantly.
If you’ve read the directions and you still have a problem, then of course you should send me an e-mail to get some help. I’m happy to help you. If you actually find a new glitch in the download or installation process, I’ll do everything I can to resolve it, and then I’ll add that solution to the instructions on the download page.
If you’re one of the few who needs help, please e-mail me on my Contact page. If you’re one of my thousands of e-zine readers, I believe that you know me well enough to trust that I’ll do everything I can to fix it. Please do give me the time I need to solve the problem. I sleep sometimes, so I can’t always answer your e-mail instantly. I’ll answer as quickly as I can.
Get Snowflake Pro In 30 Seconds
Snowflake Pro is available for immediate download. It should download in less than 30 seconds on a cable modem or fast DSL. It takes a bit longer if you have dialup. Get it now!
When you buy Snowflake Pro, as soon as my system has confirmed your credit card or PayPal information, it’ll take you right to the download page.
You’ll get an e-mail too. My system will send you an e-mail within a few minutes with a link to that same download page. Save that e-mail and you’ll have a permanent reminder of where to download it if you ever need to get it again.
Please remember that Snowflake Pro is ONLY available as a download, NOT as a CD. That box above looks pretty, but that is NOT how I believe software should be delivered in the 21st century. Think outside the box! There is no box!
With a download, you DON’T have to wait for a CD to come in the mail. You DON’T have to pay shipping. You DON’T have to find space on your shelf to store a box. Instead, you download a medium-large file right now.
That makes it incredibly quicker and easier for me to issue upgrades every time I decide to add a new cool feature to make Snowflake Pro even more powerful and easy to use.
Please remember that if you have some glitch in downloading or installing Snowflake Pro, the problem is most often a failure to read all the directions on the download page. Most of my customers don’t have any problems at all, but if you hit a snag, please recheck the directions and see if they can solve your glitch. If you still have any problems, send me an e-mail from my Contact page and I’ll do my best to get you squared away as fast as possible.
How To Get an Instant 50% Discount
Want a discount on Snowflake Pro? I’ll make you a deal that’ll help promote my latest book and will save you a bundle.
If you buy my book Writing Fiction For Dummies (or if you already own it), then I’ll give you an immediate discount of 50% on Snowflake Pro. That’s right — you save $50 just for buying my book. You can get the paper version on Amazon for less than $14 and the Kindle version costs less than $12. (The exact price changes from day to day, based on Amazon’s mysterious algorithms.)
Why would I give you such an outrageously good deal? Several reasons: I believe in my book and I want to do everything possible to make it succeed. Plus I wouldn’t mind increasing the volume on my hottest-selling product,Snowflake Pro. Plus these are tough economic times for everybody, and I want to do my part to help writers through.
So this deal is a win-win situation, which means it’s just plain good business.
To get your 50% discount on Snowflake Pro, do the following:
- Buy Writing Fiction For Dummies at any bookstore in the world or any online store. If you like, you can click here to grab it on Amazon. Feel free to buy the Kindle version if you prefer. If you already own the book, no problem — you still get in on this deal.
- Tell me where you got it and I’ll give you a coupon code which you can use instantly when you check out on my shopping cart. (For example, type in “Amazon” or “Barnes and Noble” or “Joe’s Books” or whatever) and then click on the “Show Me The Coupon Code!” button.
To get Snowflake Pro for $100, click the “Add to Cart” button:
If you feel queasy about doing an online purchase, that’s OK! Just click on “Add To Cart” button above and work through the shopping cart up to the payment page. Then print the order form and cancel the online order (so you don’t have to enter any credit card info.) You can mail me the order form with your check at this address:
2210 W. Main St., Suite 107
Battle Ground, WA 98604
I’d like to thank my team of Alpha Testers who helped me test the downloading, installation, and running of Snowflake Pro on a wide variety of computer systems. In alphabetical order, they are:
- Rick Acker www.RickAcker.com
- Tom Adshead
- Bryce Beattie www.StoryHack.com
- Sven Bergner
- Jeannie Campbell www.CharacterTherapist.blogspot.com
- Phil Conrad www.PhillipBConrad.wordpress.com
- Sean Dare
- Peter Economy www.PeterEconomy.com
- Meredith Efken www.MeredithEfken.com and www.FictionFixitShop.com
- Dale Emery
- Jorg-Peter Friederich
- Lynne Gentry
- Tim Greene www.crzywrter.wordpress.com
- Jeff Hilton
- Jim Huskins
- Chris Kirkby
- Tosca Lee www.ToscaLee.com
- Steve Lewis
- Ken Marable www.KenMarable.info
- Alastair Mayer
- Colleen Peterson
- Srey Seng
- Lynetta Smith www.Lynetta.blogspot.com
- William Stanley
- Guy Wade