Snowflake Method – Case Study

Hello, lovelies. Today I’m posting something extra special! Last week we talked about the Snowflake Method, what it is, and how to use it. This week, I want to give you an in-depth view of the Snowflake Method in action, and to demonstrate, I am using a book I’m currently in the process of publishing, my very own Urban Fantasy novel, Utopian Melody.

A few notes before we get into this week’s post. This is for an earlier version of this novel, and some of the plots have changed, but the premise has always been the same. Spoilers are entirely possible, but I’m not going to point each one out. I am also going to focus on the Main Character, Christine, for simplicity sake, otherwise, this is going to be a very long piece of parchment. Anyway, with that in mind, let’s continue.

Step One: Write one sentence about your entire story.

In a battle between Heaven and Hell over the control of Earth, Deadly Sins and Heavenly Virtues roam the earth, while Mercenaries from both sides go on to defeat them.

Step Two: Expand your sentence from Step One into a full paragraph.

Christine is a young woman whose life is turned upside-down by tragedy. Though her destiny seems bleak, she chooses to become a Mercenary for Heaven and work to keep the balance of power between Heaven and Hell back on Earth. But when the Fallen One, Lucifer, crosses her path, Christine finds temptation is a very powerful force, and must choose for herself whether to stay her hand and play the cards dealt, or to change her destiny and forge a new one on her own.

Step Three: Write a one page summary of each of the main characters.

Name: Christine Abigail Taylor

Storyline: After her untimely death, Christine is sent to Heaven, only to find that she is unable to enter its gates. Upon finding out that her sister Carly has gained entrance, Christine decides that she will fight for the right to gain entry.

In becoming a Mercenary for Heaven, she is given a specific task, to defeat one of each of the Deadly Sins on Earth, and try to tip the balance back to Heaven’s side. In eliminating such evil from the world, Christine influences the currents on Earth, leading more and more people into God’s light. Moreover, if she completes the tasks ahead without fail, she will be given another chance.

Motivation: Christine wants to make it into Heaven, because she knows that her sister Carly is there, and she wants to tell her how truly sorry she is for her part in Carly’s death, and make amends.

Goal: Being admitted into Heaven and apologizing to her sister Carly. In order to do this, she must fight one of each of the Deadly Sins on Earth, and defeat each of them in turn.

Conflict preventing her from reaching her goal: Christine is actually a suicide, and by the laws of Heaven, she is not allowed in under any circumstances, as taking one’s own life is a grave mistake. She wants to make amends, but she doesn’t realize that no matter what she does, she can never really atone for her sin. Ultimately, what she thinks she’s in for, isn’t even the case, and she needs to figure that out before she even can reach her goal.

Epiphany: Sometimes hard work just doesn’t pay off. That’s kinda a crappy ending though actually. Her epiphany should probably be something else. Cause that just doesn’t sit well with me. Talga Vassternich. Deserve Victory.

Step Four: Expand each sentence from Step Two into a paragraph.

The Earth is a battlefield in a struggle for existence. Heavenly Virtues and Deadly Sins are constantly in conflict for the upper hand. Despite this, the people on Earth live out their lives largely oblivious of their own fight.

The moment Christine died, her life began anew.

Caught up in a war for Earth that has raged on for millennia, Christine sets out on an impossible task: defeat one of each type of Deadly Sin inhabiting Earth to help Heaven attain the upper hand once more.

But the Fallen One, Lucifer, has other plans for her. Having heard of her fierce determination to see her task through, he sets out to win her to his side, by making her an offer she can’t refuse.

Christine knows that temptation is an irrational force which only gets worse the longer she resists. She must now choose whether she will stay in Heaven or go to the Fallen One’s side.

The precarious balance on Earth could hang on her decision as both sides prepare for the final battle.

Step Five: Write a one-page synopsis of each of your Main Characters and a ½ a page synopsis for each of the other important characters.

Christine Abigail Taylor

Christine is a fairly normal person. She has a job, she has an apartment, and she’s been in a steady relationship for several years. Because her parents are dead, she takes care of her sister, sending her to school and everything.

Her life is completely changed one day when her boyfriend comes home in a drunken stupor. Upset that her sister is getting in the way of their relationship, he starts a fight that ends up in the death of both herself and her sister. Further complicating this, when she gets to the Heavenly Gates, she is judged unworthy to go to Heaven, and opts to try to convince the Council of Elder Angels that she should be allowed in.

She meets with the angel Azrael and he trains her in combat and flight, and helps her on her missions. She goes out to fight Deadly Sins in order to try to tip the balance back in Heaven’s favor.

What she doesn’t know is that her soul can never reach Heaven. It has always been marked for Hell. No matter how many people she turns in favor of Heaven back on Earth, she will never be allowed in. Sensing this, Lucifer comes to her, and he tells her about what Heaven has done to her, in the hopes that she would see reason when they inevitably betrayed her, and remember that he had been honest with her all along.

Of course, all the Angels and Mercenaries were called back before Christine could get all her Sins vanquished. When she was brought back to Heaven, it was only to be told that she was indeed never making it into Heaven. During this time, she finally realizes that there was never any hope for her, and that all of her hard work was crashing down around her. Because of this, and the antagonism of Jesus himself, Christine becomes a Fallen One, and literally falls from Heaven, down to Earth.

In the epilogue, we see that Christine is awaiting a visitor. It turns out that Azrael has come to see her, and to ask her what happened. She explains, and though he understands her pain, he strips her of the weapons he had given her, and leaves her, proclaiming them to be enemies, and letting her know that Lucifer’s minions would be by to collect her soon and take her to Hell.

Step Six: Expand each paragraph from Step Four into a one page description.

The Earth is a battlefield in a struggle for existence. Every day, the balance between good and evil is tipped, and this constantly-changing existence makes it quite chaotic to live on Earth.

Heavenly Virtues and Deadly Sins are constantly in conflict for the upper hand. With the souls living on Earth, each side tries their best to convince the humans to side with them. Moreover, whenever a Sin or Virtue is encountered by someone on the opposite side, a legitimate battle ensues, and they fight to the death.

Despite this, the people on Earth live out their lives largely oblivious of their own fight. They go about their day to day lives completely unaware that this battle is being fought alongside them. They have no inkling that this battle is, indeed, being fought for their very souls.

Everyone has eternal life after death, it’s just a matter of where they will spend it. The moment Christine died, her life began anew. After an argument with her longtime boyfriend that resulted in her escaping out a window to her own death, Christine is sent to Heaven to face judgment. It is there that she becomes a Mercenary for Heaven, and learns of the fate of the Earth.

Caught up in a war for Earth that has raged on for millennia, Christine sets out on an impossible task: defeat one of each type of Deadly Sin inhabiting Earth to help Heaven attain the upper hand once more.

She spends months training for this task by studying the art of combat and learning to fly from the Mercenary trainer extraordinaire, Azrael, who has let her borrow his favorite weapons, twin daggers that he went to the underworld and fought Cerberus for. Even the tiniest knick that draws blood will vanquish any foe without the slightest hesitation, instantly turning them to ash.  

She is sent out on many different missions, one after the other. Not only does she vanquish many of the Deadly Sins, but she also begins to turn hordes of humans to the Lord’s side. Her power in battle is still unknown to her, as she has no access to what is happening in Heaven. However, in doing so, she becomes one of the most successful Mercenaries to have a run.

Because of this, many in Heaven cheer her on, and praise her name, though she knows it not.

But the Fallen One, Lucifer, has other plans for her. He knows the power of one betrayed, and can see that having her on his side could be a useful asset. Besides knowing the outer layout of Heaven, where they were sure to gather to do battle, she also was a fierce combat warrior and an ally that Heaven just couldn’t have on their side.

Having heard of her fierce determination to see her task through, he sets out to win her to his side, by making her an offer she can’t refuse. He tells her the truth of her situation, that she is his by right because of her suicide, and tells her that he will be waiting for her when Heaven makes its move.

Christine knows that temptation is an irrational force which only gets worse the longer she resists. She must now choose whether she will stay in Heaven or go to the Fallen One’s side. She continues to battle, desperately trying to finish her goal before someone or something stops her.

When she is met after a particularly brutal and trying battle, she is taken back to Heaven to see Jesus and report. She comes willingly, knowing that there isn’t much she could really do in this situation, having been warned by the enemy that this would occur. She is brought before Jesus, and he confirms what the Fallen One told her, that she was a suicide and could never reach Heaven. In anger and despair, her emotions swirl around her and she draws out her rage, becoming a Fallen One herself.

The precarious balance on Earth could hang on her decision as both sides  now look to prepare for the final battle.

Step Seven: Expand your character descriptions into full-fledged character charts, detailing everything there is to know about them.

Name: Christine Abigail Taylor

Storyline: After her untimely death, Christine is sent to Heaven, only to find that she is unable to enter its gates. Upon finding out that her sister Carly has gained entrance, Christine decides that she will fight for the right to gain entry.

In becoming a Mercenary for Heaven, she is given a specific task, to defeat one of each of the Deadly Sins on Earth, and try to tip the balance back to Heaven’s side. In eliminating such evil from the world, Christine influences the currents on Earth, leading more and more people into God’s light. Moreover, if she completes the tasks ahead without fail, she will be given another chance.

Motivation: Christine wants to make it into Heaven, because she knows that her sister Carly is there, and she wants to tell her how truly sorry she is for her part in Carly’s death, and make amends.

Goal: Being admitted into Heaven and apologizing to her sister Carly. In order to do this, she must fight one of each of the Deadly Sins on Earth, and defeat each of them in turn.

Conflict preventing her from reaching her goal: Christine is actually a suicide, and by the laws of Heaven, she is not allowed in under any circumstances, as taking one’s own life is a grave mistake. She wants to make amends, but she doesn’t realize that no matter what she does, she can never really atone for her sin. Ultimately, what she thinks she’s in for, isn’t even the case, and she needs to figure that out before she even can reach her goal.

Epiphany: Sometimes hard work just doesn’t pay off. That’s kinda a crappy ending though actually. Her epiphany should probably be something else. Cause that just doesn’t sit well with me.

Talga Vassternich. Deserve Victory.

Weaponry: Christine’s weapon of choice is actually two weapons. Daggers to be precise. Fashioned of a white tooth from Cerberus’s mouth. The hilts are made of a pure silver that is enchanted never to tarnish, with multiple embellishments and filigree adorning them. How Azrael obtained such a weapon is unknown, however, they are his most prized weapons, and he was loathed to let her use them.

The demonic aura surrounding the daggers is so potent, having come from the world of the dead itself, that if she chooses to use them, the act of unsheathing them risks alerting Lucifer to her whereabouts. Thus, Azrael warned her against using them unless her need was very great. He was also extremely concerned about the safety of his daggers, to be sure.

Christine wears the daggers on a special strap that makes an X on her lower back, and because of the strap’s design, they are fully hidden underneath her wings. As they are short daggers, she must be at close range to have a chance of even touching her foe with them.

She wields both daggers backhanded as it is an unexpected fighting style which she feels is more natural for her, but she has also been trained by Azrael to use them normally, and to switch fighting styles at will, which is a highly effective tactic if a foe feels comfortable in predicting her moves. (She can lull a foe into a false sense of security and turn the tide of battle just as they’ve thought they have won, because being versed in both styles is least expected, if that makes any sense. The element of surprise!)

Synopsis: Christine is a fairly normal person. She has a job, she has an apartment, and she’s been in a steady relationship for several years. Because her parents are dead, she takes care of her sister, sending her to school and everything.

Her life is completely changed one day when her boyfriend comes home in a drunken stupor. Upset that her sister is getting in the way of their relationship, he starts a fight that ends up in the death of both herself and her sister. Further complicating this, when she gets to the Heavenly Gates, she is judged unworthy to go to Heaven, and opts to try to convince the Council of Elder Angels that she should be allowed in.

She meets with the angel Azrael and he trains her in combat and flight, and helps her on her missions. She goes out to fight Deadly Sins in order to try to tip the balance back in Heaven’s favor.

What she doesn’t know is that her soul can never reach Heaven. It has always been marked for Hell. No matter how many people she turns in favor of Heaven back on Earth, she will never be allowed in. Sensing this, Lucifer comes to her, and he tells her about what Heaven has done to her, in the hopes that she would see reason when they inevitably betrayed her, and remember that he had been honest with her all along.

Of course, all the Angels and Mercenaries were called back before Christine could get all her Sins vanquished. When she was brought back to Heaven, it was only to be told that she was indeed never making it into Heaven. During this time, she finally realizes that there was never any hope for her, and that all of her hard work was crashing down around her. Because of this, and the antagonism of Jesus himself, Christine becomes a Fallen One, and literally falls from Heaven, down to Earth.

In the epilogue, we see that Christine is awaiting a visitor. It turns out that Azrael has come to see her, and to ask her what happened. She explains, and though he understands her pain, he strips her of the weapons he had given her, and leaves her, proclaiming them to be enemies, and letting her know that Lucifer’s minions would be by to collect her soon and take her to Hell.

Step Eight: Take each page from Step Six and write a one-sentence description of every scene that you will need for each page.

  1. An argument with her long time boyfriend coming home in a drunken stupor one night.
  2. That resulted in her sister Carly’s Death.
  3. It also resulted in the Main Character, Christine, escaping out a window to her own death.
  4. Christine is sent to Heaven to face judgment.
  5. She awakens in a bright room, aptly named the Waking Room and is escorted out to find out her fate.
  6. She is given instructions on the tram ride there which she doesn’t pay attention to, in favor of regaining her own memories of the last moments of her life.
  7. She faces the Angel of Justice and he sentences her to Hell.
  8. She protests and is allowed to meet with the Council of Elder Angels the next day.
  9. In the Council chambers, she does a much better job defending herself.
  10. It is there that she becomes a Mercenary for Heaven, and learns of the fate of the Earth.
  11. She is taken into custody by a Mercenary trainer named Azrael and he takes her to his home to tell her what is going on.
  12. Caught up in a war for Earth that has raged on for millennia, Christine sets out on an impossible task: defeat one of each type of Deadly Sin inhabiting Earth to help Heaven attain the upper hand once more.
  13. The Earth is a battlefield in a struggle for existence. Every day, the balance between good and evil is tipped, and this constantly-changing existence makes it quite chaotic to live on Earth.
  14. Heavenly Virtues and Deadly Sins are constantly in conflict for the upper hand. With the souls living on Earth, each side tries their best to convince the humans to side with them.
  15. Moreover, whenever a Sin or Virtue is encountered by someone on the opposite side, a legitimate battle ensues, and they fight to the death.
  16. Despite this, the people on Earth live out their lives largely oblivious of their own fight. They go about their day to day lives completely unaware that this battle is being fought alongside them. They have no inkling that this battle is, indeed, being fought for their very souls.
  17. Everyone has eternal life after death, it’s just a matter of where they will spend it. The moment Christine died, her life began anew.
  18. She spends months training for this task by studying the art of combat and learning to fly from the Mercenary trainer extraordinaire, Azrael.
  19. He has let her borrow his favorite weapons, twin daggers that he went to the underworld and fought Cerberus for. Even the tiniest knick that draws blood will vanquish any foe without the slightest hesitation, instantly turning them to ash.  
  20. She is sent out on many different missions, one after the other.
    1. Lust –
    2. Greed –
    3. Pride – Ireland/Scotland?
    4. Gluttony – Hawaii, Oahu, Lanikai Beach
    5. Envy – Egypt, Giza Plateau, Pyramid of Giza
  21. Not only does she vanquish many of the Deadly Sins, but she also begins to turn hordes of humans to the Lord’s side.
  22. Her power in battle is still unknown to her, as she has no access to what is happening in Heaven. However, in doing so, she becomes one of the most successful Mercenaries to have a run. Because of this, many in Heaven cheer her on, and praise her name, though she knows it not.
  23. But the Fallen One, Lucifer, has other plans for her. He knows the power of one betrayed, and can see that having her on his side could be a useful asset. Besides knowing the outer layout of Heaven, where they were sure to gather to do battle, she also was a fierce combat warrior and an ally that Heaven just couldn’t have on their side.
  24. Having heard of her fierce determination to see her task through, he sets out to win her to his side, by making her an offer she can’t refuse. He tells her the truth of her situation, that she is his by right because of her suicide, and tells her that he will be waiting for her when Heaven makes its move.
  25. Christine knows that temptation is an irrational force which only gets worse the longer she resists.
  26. She must now choose whether she will stay in Heaven or go to the Fallen One’s side.
  27. She continues to battle, desperately trying to finish her goal before someone or something stops her.
  28. When she is met after a particularly brutal and trying battle, she is taken back to Heaven to see Jesus and report.
  29. She comes willingly, knowing that there isn’t much she could really do in this situation, having been warned by the enemy that this would occur.
  30. She is brought before Jesus, and he confirms what the Fallen One told her, that she was a suicide and could never reach Heaven.
  31. In anger and despair, her emotions swirl around her and she draws out her rage, becoming a Fallen One herself.
  32. The precarious balance on Earth could hang on her decision as both sides now look to prepare for the final battle.

Step Nine: Take each line from your outline, and drill it down further, including pictures, quotes, songs, etc. Make the story come alive. Play around with the scenes and reorganize them.

If you want to visit the Pinterest board I made for this, you can go check it out over here.

What do you think? Have you tried the Snowflake Method? What method do you use to plot your novels? What other plot structures would you like me to cover? Let me know in the comments below!

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