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I Become an Author 4 - The Importance of Being Disastrous

3 min read

Nur wer schreibt, der bleibt! I will be the next Jo Nesbö. But for now I have to learn a bit. The funny way. This is what Randy Ingermanson says in How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method. .


The Big Bad Wolf now also threatens Goldilocks, but suddenly...

Baby Bear stood there grinning. “I’m fine. This is my friend, the Big Bad Wolf. I asked him to burst in and fire a blank at me. I had a capsule of fake blood in my paw, and I smashed it on my chest.”

“Why would I kill you?” the Big Bad Wolf asked. A sly smile slid across his face. “I said I’d shoot you only if you decided to use the Snowflake Method.”

“Because …” Goldilocks didn’t realize she’d made the decision until she thought about it just now. “Because when you threatened me, when you said I couldn’t use the Snowflake Method, I realized that … I really do want to try it out.”

“Did everybody see what just happened there? Goldilocks made a decision.”

The Big Bad Wolf went to the whiteboard and picked up a marker. He held it poised at the board and wrote:


  1. Excitement
  2. Decision
  3. New Directions

Baby Bear went to the whiteboard and found an empty space. “What we’ve learned is called the Three-Act Structure, although I sometimes like to call it the Three-Disaster Structure. Designing your Three-Act Structure is the second step of the Snowflake Method, and I like to do it in one paragraph of five sentences.” He wrote on the board:


  1. Give yourself one hour for this task.
  2. Write one paragraph with five sentences as follows:
    • Explain the setting and introduce the lead characters.
    • Explain the first quarter of the book, up to the first disaster, where the hero commits to the story.
    • Explain the second quarter of the book, up to the second disaster, where the hero changes his mode of operations.
    • Explain the third quarter of the book, up to the third disaster, which forces the hero to commit to the ending.
    • Explain the fourth quarter of the book, where the hero has the final confrontation and either wins or loses or both.
  3. Focus on the disasters and the decisions that follow.
  4. Don’t try to figure out how you’ll solve all the problems. Leave that for later. You only care about the big picture in this step.