Snowflake Step Null (or, A Little Bit of World Building All Night Long)

So, one thing I’m noticing as I go through this process is that the Snowflake Method doesn’t seem to have taken into consideration any need for world-building.  I’m not sure if this is an oversight on the part of Randy Ingermanson, the creator (or at least promoter) of the Snowflake Method, or if I’m just not seeing how world-building fits into the process.

Either way, I figure it’s important to lay out the history of the world the story takes place in, since this world is not our world.  I think the easiest way is to simple follow the outline provided by the rest of the Snowflake: start small, build up.  I’m in paragraph mode with the characters and the plot, so let’s hit paragraph mode with the world.

The end of the 19th century was a time of tremendous advances, and then the asteroid landed.  On board was an alien life form that mutated and evolved rapidly and quickly rivaled mankind in destructive power.  Humanity found itself ill-equipped to deal with the threat and was driven out to sea.  One hundred years later, the floating refugees have adapted to life on the sea, and have developed airships to allow for expeditions further and further inland during the daylight hours when the Crawlers are sleeping.  Society in the time following the exodus to sea became extremely strict to ensure survival, and those strictures have mostly survived.

I think that’s about where I’m at right now.  There are some other nebulous world bits floating around (new technology and scientific advances that are starting to come around as society settles into its new locale), but they’re very vague right now.

I kinda feel like I need to address the lesbian/bisexual characters, especially after I told my wife about them.  Her response was, “Typical male.”  There’s more to it, though, or at least I tell myself there is.

I don’t know what the Victorian perception of homosexuality was (I do plan on researching that), but after most of the population was wiped out, the government that rose from the ashes basically outlawed homosexuality because the population needed rebuilt.  Becca falls for Cara because she’s a lot like Crynn, and when their relationship is discovered, Cara is banished, which drives Cara to piracy.  From that, the personal plots are driven, while the Crawler and pirate threats provide background events.

I dunno.  I think it makes sense.

Written by StingRay in: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,


  • I like how you have evolved the Snowflake Method to meet an unaddressed aspect of the novel development process.

    I think your wife’s response has some merit. Here’s a question: why aren’t the character’s gay males? There may be a good reason why the characters must be female, but if the genders could be switched, writing gay male characters may smack less of titillation than lesbians.

    Just a thought.

    Comment | December 4, 2008
  • I always envisioned StoryWorld as something you develop before you start your story. For me, it’s research and I typically spend a long time on it, even before I know what the story will be. But then it’s good for several novels.

    So I see the whole world-building thing as very important, but just not part of a Snowflake. The computer-science people would call it “orthogonal” to the Snowflake.

    Best regards,
    Randy (the Snowflake Guy) Ingermanson

    Comment | December 4, 2008
  • Fraser,

    I’m not too terribly worried about it in the long-run. I guess I just wanted to put an explanation out there as a way of saying “No, really, I have a plan.” I feel like switching the genders wouldn’t work, not least of which is the “realism” aspect of a female captain in the government navy. There’s more to it, though, but it’s more gut instinct at the moment.

    I think there’re people who will claim titillation no matter what I do, but I do have a plan.


    Thanks for the comment, and for stopping by!

    I can understand where you’re coming from. This story idea kind of invaded suddenly, so I’m researching and writing at the same time to keep the story fresh. Plus, the history of the world is going to be as much a story (in my mind anyway) as the rest, so I figure Snowflaking it might be useful.

    Comment | December 5, 2008

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