Mapping out a novel with Manuskript and the snowflake method

Plan Your Epic

Article from Issue 262/2022

The Manuskript editor is all you need to jump start your next writing project.

Have you ever wanted to write a novel, an essay, or anything more complex than a school report? In this tutorial, I explain a technique for organizing your writing project efficiently: the snowflake method. I'll also introduce you to Manuskript [1], a multi-platform, open source tool you can use for implementing the snowflake method for your own writing work, made to order for it. The goal of Manuskript is to help writers "create their first draft and then further refine and edit their masterpiece."

The snowflake method, which was created by Randy Ingermanson, sits in the middle between adhering to a complete, traditional outline and "freewriting," or deliberately writing without any plan, which can facilitate discovery but is also sometimes very unproductive.

Details and tips about the snowflake method are available online [2] [3], but the concept is extremely simple: Start with a really basic story summary and add little elements to it in a circular, incremental way, just like particles of ice attach to each other to form complex snowflakes. In other words, start by writing down the basic idea of the book, then the main character or characters, and then the setting – using just one sentence for each entry.


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