Feb 17, 2010

wTf? wEdNeSdAy! My WiP and the board of funness.

wTf? wEdNeSdAy!  Everyone needs a day to say wtf?  What day is better than Hump Day?

First, I am suggesting you use 3:55, of the 5 minutes I get you for, and watch this video from Maureen Johnson, while she covered John Green's maternity leave.  It is a great video and it gave me the confidence to start this process and share with you my suckage.

At first, this video totally made me say, wtf?!  But, then it clicked.
As yesterday's post stated, I have rekindled my GLBT YA WiP (whoa acronyms) Stepbrothers.  This is a journey I truly look forward to sharing with you.  Sharing in two ways.  I will show you my progress and you will update me on yours.  It doesn't matter if you are in revisions, the middle of chapter thirty-six, word number 36,341.  I want to hear from you!  (In case you've forgotten how things work here, read the site disclaimer at the top of the page.  Yes, I'm too lazy to post it here.)

So, here are photos of the beginning of my board.  I will post the steps of the snowflake method as I accomplish them.  I am designating the the left 1/3 of the board to the snowflake method.  The other 2/3 to my plot map.  (I believe the two things will overlap at some point.)  Now, I know this little board is not large enough to contain everything.  This is big picture stuff.  I have a few notebooks and folders designated to character profiles and...the other stuff.  Am I oozing naivety?  Good, then your expectations will be low.J  That was the ulterior motive behind the video.  (Except Tina's expectations, she thinks I'm a prodigy or something.)  Oh, the photos, duh.

I started with a grungy old project board, stolen from the retired teacher Matriarch.
I added the name of my blog and a Mount Rushmoresque picture of myself (it was totally supposed to be little) and the title of the project this board is all about: Stepbrothers.
I added the steps of the Snowflake Method as labels.
Finally, the big picture view again.

It's important for us to remember that this is a process and things will change.  Maybe I'll be at ten boards by the end of March.  Yeah, no.  I plan to print and place the results of the steps too.

OMG, I am wasting everyone's time.  So, I was planning to post my progress on the first two steps, but to save you time, I'll do that tomorrow.  As a refresher the steps are listed on yesterday's post and at the Snowflake Method website<<< you should be bookmarking that page.

If you'd like to take the time, here's my result of step one:

Step 1) One-sentence summary:
Two teen boys discover they are to become stepbrothers, shortly after they each realize the other is gay.
This was hard for me because you are to shoot for fewer than fifteen words and avoid details...well, um...it was hard.

Now it's your turn: suggestions, ideas, whatever.  Don't you dare post, "Looking good, Jon."  I will strike down cop-outs Zeus-style.  Either thoughtfully participate or don't participate at all.  This doesn't mean you have to do all the steps or even try the method...just let me know where you are, where you want to be, and where you need to be.

Okay, class, you may go.


  1. Looking good, John. (Sorry, O.D.D. kicking in.)

    I made it through step one for an upper-middle-grade-ish project my best friend and I made up when we were 14 that I think I might, like, actually, you know, write at some point.

    One-sentence summary of HEARIE:
    Pretending to be deaf is a blast – until you hear a murder.

    I've got a hunch Step Two won't be as fun or easy as Step One, but I'm with you so far.

  2. And I didn't make a fancy display board or anything, but I shall admire yours from afar.

  3. You are doing your homework :) I am going to try this and it will be hard to come up with something 15 words or less. I will try.

  4. Sarah - Thank you for sharing. You sentence oozes intrigue.

    Christine - Why, yes I did! Don't get too hung up on the 15 words, just write a sentence and then chopping words will become easier and easier. Mine is 18 words, have suggestions to change what I have? Also, please make sure you are following the steps on the Snowflake Method's website and not how I write them here.

  5. I loved the video about sucking. I feel totally validated at this point. I know how much I suck, and how much less I suck than when I first started sucking. (on this manuscript, anyway!)

    Okay, you are very brave. You know how I feel when my stuff is out there. So, I can only go so far with you, publicly. Here's my sentence, which evidently, I have to chop to get down to 15 words.

    When a boy has no one left to turn to, and a star just won't accept her place in the universe, two worlds collide with a big bang.

    I'll be back later, with my truncated version.

    As far as yours goes--what is the conflict that the boys face? Is that something that you want to put into the first sentence?

    It's a solid summary sentence, and firmly grounds us in this story! Looking forward to the next part, tomorrow.

  6. Oh, and Sarah--I'm intrigued. Cool start!

  7. Well, I've already seen that video, so I can devote my entire five minutes to you!

    Right now, I'm working on my query and realizing I should have written it a looooooong time ago. Also, I'm going to begin revisions soon... yay.

    I like your board! I'm a visual person, too.

  8. gah - you're really making me think here. Which sends me into a painful spiral of doubt that my plot isn't as strong as I thought it was.
    THANKS ALOT. ((grumble))
    It's a Romance novel, but now I'm thinking its more Chic Lit, since the plot is really about her.

    A bartender partygirl gets an office job, finds love with a scientist, and discovers she's pretty smart.

  9. A boy's desperate wish risks destroying the world when it pulls a rogue star to earth.

    Okay, I'm at 16 words now, but I feel as though this one is too passive, talking about the wish and what the wish does, rather than the boy and the star.

  10. *shudders* Dude, that is way too organized for me. I sit. I write. Sometimes I print it and rewrite.

    Good luck with your snowflakes! They really do look amazing.

  11. Okay, did you want feedback on your sentence? If so: I want more about how they realize? Not too many details, just clues like are they class mates? Because they are stepbrother's you don't have to use the word 'boys', you could sub another word packed with info.

    Expectations. You will totally meet them.

    My sentence? I will be right back with that.

  12. I. Love. Your. Blog.

    I tried the Snowflake Method for something just recently. I still haven't started writing it yet. My step 1 is...wait for it...

    A graduate student must find answers when people start to turn up dead after she dreams of carrying out their grisly murders.

    Mine is 22, but there was a lot to say:D

    I'm currently on step 8. This is where you figure out if you have enough ideas in your head (scene-wise) to actually write an entire novel. Am I there yet? Yeah...um...no. So, anyhoo, this is cool. Glad I'm not the only Snowflake person in the world.

  13. I hate when people show things like old posterboards, because then I sit here wondering what used to be on it. I am crazy. Crazy, crazy, crazy.

  14. Jon- Here's my sentence: Animal Boy and Speed Girl save their city by unraveling a scientist's polar bear plot.

    I'm not much pleased except for the fact that it is exactly 15 words.

  15. Be prepared: this comment may suck.

    1. You are brave to be putting each step out there, but you will be helping us by showing us the Snowflake Method step by step and in turn we can help you by commenting on your progress.
    2. I'm too tired to comment any more than this. And that sucks.

  16. Heather - (you may need to refer to your comment) I'm glad you got that out of that video! I know I'm brave, don't worry about chopping it down to fifteen cuz I love you sentence! I am not sure what to do with that sentence...it's...ugh. Thanks.

    Ri - Yay on the revisions! I'm glad my ugly board pleases you.

    December - You're totally missing the point. You're ahead of me, so far ahead. I do not want you to start question your own story as much as I want you to start seeing your story at different angles than maybe you have before. Did that make any sense...I'm not sure.

    Elana - You're established, my friend. It's all about the water cooler in five years, right?

    TLL - Great idea, I will think on that.

    Tina Lyn - Thank you!! I like my blog, too, because of you guys. I like your sentence, it feels strong. Thanks for letting me know that you're at Step 8. I feel like that verifies my attempts here. Shh, don't tell anybody, but I have been totally stressing that I won' make it past step 3 and I'll be an epic fail. I am so excited to see your input for the next few steps. Wee!

    Anita - The history of that board in writing would be comparable to 1776, by you know who. It's been AROUND the block. Why do your off kilter comments always make my day?!

    TLL2 - :)
    TLL3 - Hm...I am not sure why you're not pleased, but I can def relate. I hate mine. You have stated what needs to be said, therefore, yours is very successful. I believe you'll validation of Step 1 in Step 2.

    Kelly: Aw. I am glad you see the point in this. Never feel bad for being too tired to participate!

  17. Wow, very organized. I don't think I could do that. I'm much more random, and that board intimidates me. But you'll probably be published long before I'm half-way through my MS. :)

    As for your sentence, I'm guessing those two teen boys also have feelings for each other? That would create the conflict that we're seeking to go with the stepbrothers detail. Maybe rearranged a little, like this:

    "After learning they have feelings for each other, two teen boys make another discovery--they're also about to become stepbrothers."

    20 words, so not an improvement length-wise. Sorry. You can probably make it more efficient, since I'm just spitballing here. But at least it highlights the reason why becoming related is bad.

    Of course, if I've missed the boat on your story, then... well, oops.


    I want to read it!

    The book I have in current planning stage is also one of the few I have a one sentence summary for:

    An amateur writer gets sucked into her own novel.

    It's not quite as full of intrigue as Sarah's, I admit, but hey!

    I'm trying to work out if I could sum up my NaNo in 15 words or less but... no. I really couldn't... :-/

  19. ROFL Jon, you crack me up. Rushoresque? Totally on board. (haha a PUN!!)

    Okay, my participation: Step 1: Immortalized as teenagers, a boy and girl must save the word--from themselves. Whew.

    And Jon? Lookin' good. ;)

  20. I've got to get my kids to reuse their posterboards...it's one asinine report and out to recycling, currently.

  21. Brandon - Thanks for the ideas. I have to sit on it for a week and see what my mind wants me to do.

    Floot to Sarah - I second that.

    Really, I want to all be successful!

    Floot - Writing your name is serious fun. I like your sentence, but from a writer's POV, that really does happen...What kind of novel is it? Mystery, adventure, romance, thriller, all-of-the-above? I'd like to see one or two words added.

    Ali - I like that. Is that for Desolation or another WiP? Thanks for the compliments ;););)

    Anita - There's the defining characteristic, it was so McCain, the currently means undecided until the last minute.

  22. There needs to be a campaign to encourage Sarah to write "Hearie" - maybe we can get a petition up...

    (Don't worry Sarah, you don't really *have* to as such. Well you do, obviously as Jon's minion, but, you know, not *straight* away... ;p)

    I was trying to define it more concisely without going over 15 words - I failed!

    I'll attempt a longer-but-not-stupidly-long version:

    A guy offers to read an amateur novelist's chick lit WiP*, never expecting that they would both get sucked into her book. Unexpected dangers await and the path home might not be as simple or as obvious as it seems. Especially when there are those who will do anything to ensure that Sophie and Ben remain in bookworld forever...

    *dun dun dunnnnnnnn*

    I'm not very good at summarising a novel in a paragraph, but (after six weeks of working on the planning) I'm getting closer.

    * Well, what more fun way to torture him??? ;)

    My other WiP is very slightly easier to define if I open up the wordcount, though it has to be said that this describes the novel it will one day be much more than it describes the novel as it actually stands at the moment:

    Involves Tomatoes

    The quest to grow the perfect tomato was never so important. Angels and demonic things and love and loss. And tomatoes. Of course.

    Oooh my security word was spodopiq - that has to be my favourite so far!

  23. Oh and I blame a billingual French friend for Floot - referring to the silver side blown flutes as flutes confuses the wotnots off the poor lad, so I became Floot, and promptly became rather fond of the title :) tis very 'me' :)

  24. Floot - I hate tomatoes, love your sentence. We can work on the first one. And the history of your name is cool!

  25. When I tried it, the snowflake method got reeeaally tedious for me toward the end and I gave up, so kudos if you make it through! For those of us with short attention spans, I recommend this for quick plotting:


    As for your one-sentence pitch, can I offer a critique? You actually have two complete sentences there and a couple needless words.

    Changed around a bit, I can turn it into one sentence and take your 18 words and make them 15.


    Two teen boys discover they are becoming stepbrothers shortly after realizing each other is gay.

    After each realizes the other is gay, two teen boys discover they are becoming stepbrothers.

    If you're not looking to be critiqued (which, granted, you're probably not), just ignore me!!!

    *runs away*

  26. Casey - You're a godsend! Now that we've both embarrassed ourselves on each other's blogs (okay, only I embarrassed myself, you're graceful) we can move on.

    I am looking for critique, commentary, kudos, whatever you wanna give. It doesn't even have to start with a 'k' sound.

    Your suggestions are thought-provoking and are allowing me to get out of this rut I've been all day with step 2.

    Also, thanks for recommending a resource. That's what's going on!

  27. I love that video. Maureen Johnson is always hilarious.

  28. You hate tomatoes? No! They're a force for good, I swear!

    (Well, I hate asparagus so... :p)

    Tomatoes is a lot more developed than As Yet Unnamed but AYU will probably be better planned.

    (ie, it will be actually planned, rather than me attemting to sort it out afterwards... just as well I like the characters LOL)

  29. Okay Jon... first. John Green did not go on Maternity leave as he is not a mother, he went on Paternity leave... I expect more of my fellow nerdfighters. However, Maureen's videos regarding writing were extremely well done and very motivational, I'm hoping that nerdfighteria can convince John to do a couple of his own.

    Secondly, was this line "It doesn't matter if you are in revisions, the middle of chapter thirty-six, word number 36,341" pointed at me by any chance? Because if so, your numbers are completely off.

    Truthfully though, I've attempted the Snowflake method multiple times and it just doesn't work for me. I work more by the seat of my pants.

    The snowflake methods tends to start you off with a bunch of resources that you put together before you sit down to write. I mean, it is step 8 (of 10) before you actually start writing what you're working on.

    I on the other hand, just write. When I started "This Rising Darkness" I had a few character concepts and a basic plot I wanted to center my story around. Sure, I laid out a map of the area the story took place in and developed the city everything began in, but then I just started going.

    Are there flaws with this method? Absolutely.

    a) In the beginning of the story my characters are underdeveloped and thus, in chapter 35, I'm still puzzling out their morality, their attitude, their motivations, etc...

    b) The story is being told by taking the back-roads to it's destination rather than the highway. What I mean by that is there are a lot of unessential scenes and a few unessential chapters.

    c) I have no idea how long it is going to tell me to tell this story. As I said, I'm going into Chapter 35 currently and it could be five more chapters and the story is done or it could be fifty more chapters. I let the story evolve as it goes. I know that is bad writing form, but I'm an amateur writer writing for my own personal enjoyment, I don't have to follow the 'rules'.

    Now, the first two issues will be alleviated if/when this story reaches the revision stage, and that in turn will help to shrink the size of the novel (I hope) as unnecessary things are cut out or diminished.

    Anyway, seeing as I've rambled on for quite a while, I do want you to know that I hope the snowflake method works for you, just because it doesn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for anyone. I wish you the best in your writing, and look forward to your comments on the next chapter to be posted on Monday.