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The Snowflake Method:
Turning Mountains to Molehills

by Linda Jenkinson |

snowflake panorama
photo credit:Geralt

"Oh no! Not snow. It's spring!"
Hold on. This isn't about bad weather It's about good writing!

We have all heard the commercials and charity pitches that claim "for just pennies a day." They are examples of making molehills out of a mountain. For instance, the other day I saw a commercial for Master Class. For $180.00 a year you can learn the secrets of masters in every field like Jane Goodall, Spike Lee, Ron Howard, Hans Zimmer, Wolfgang Puck, Steve Martin and too many more to list. $180.00 a year might seem steep, but break it down and it is $15.00 a month, 50 cents – pennies a day.

As a copywriter, I know that the reason advertisers use this ploy so often is because it works. It turns out that it is also the exact technique you need to make writing less work and more fun.

Every written piece, from essay to novel, starts with a single idea. That idea can loom over you like Mt. Everest, but don't worry. The solution is to break that mountain into molehills.

A post in the positivity blog suggests:

snowy mountain
photo credit:UX Troubletrace

Break [your] problem[s] down into smaller pieces. Solving a problem can sometimes seem overwhelming and impossible. To decrease anxiety and think more clearly break the problem down. Identify the different parts it consists of. Then figure out one practical solution you can take for each of those parts. Use those solutions.

They may not solve the whole problem immediately. But those solutions can get you started and might solve a few pieces of the it. Find the opportunity and/or lesson within the problem. There is almost always a positive side to a problem.

Randy Ingersol's snowflake method does that.

Because Ingersol began as a software architect, he was very familiar with creating a good design structure. That's what his method does. It helps you design your story, beginning with a single sentence. Build that sentence into five sentences. Then, build those five sentences into paragraphs, scenes, chapters, and finally a novel.

Although developed for novel writing, the Snowflake Method works stunningly for smaller pieces. Are you a blogger that keeps a list of ideas? I am. Many of my ideas are titles looking for a subject like "Molehills out of Mountains."

Using the snowflake, you write one sentence that describes the idea behind the title. Then expand that sentence into five sentences. Fill in those five sentences with the details to turn them into paragraphs. There is no hocus pocus, but writing with the snowflake does seem like magic. Before you know it, you will have finished a blog post, like this!

The link above will give you the details on the snowflake method. If that is too detailed for your taste, this post by Richard Denning offers a briefer version of the method.


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