The sentence contains characters, setting, event, and complication, though all but the stuffed bear is generic. The stuffed bear stands out for its stronger significance and emphasis as more important than the rest. A stuffed bear companion raises a mite of curiosity for me.
"Literally" is an often misused word, in this case to mean virtually. The word's idiomatic usage lends emphatic overstatement (hyperbole) emphasis when no emphasis is needed and is otherwise empty emphasis, or perhaps a character's discourse quirk.
However, in a literary work, the term denotatively means interpreted as a literal (verbal expression) literary sense, as opposed to a figurative literary interpretation, as in irony. The young girl took her stuffed bear's ironic comment literally: a figurative verbal expression taken literally.
"Must" is a direct tell, also an empty emphasis, and is otherwise more artful and persuasive if implied.
A world falling apart is a heady complication. If more specific a world and stronger event description, maybe a more vivid description of the young girl, and perhaps a cue to the stuffed bear's influence, the "snowflake" sentence would shine.
Just for illustration purposes:
//A lively and bright young girl and her precocious stuffed bear flee a dematerializing magic world.//
While I agree with extrinsic that something more defining about the girl might help increase that interest, I actually like the use of the word "literally," assuming that you do in fact mean "literally." I think it fits the tone of the story you're proposing.
I hope I can look forward to seeing more of this.
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Overall, it sounds familiar. NEVER ENDING STORY immediately comes to mind. However, I'm also unsure what the snowflake method is. I may google it, but if its premise is to start as simply as possible, then probably many stories will have a ring of the familiar to them.
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Hi Justin, I believe a good adjective describing the "young girl" would be in order (i.e. recalcitrant, shy, precocious, etc.).
The "stuffed bear" intrigues me in that it is there at all. "Escape" tends to indicate that the bear is more than just a common toy. If this is so, an adjective would be appropriate for it as well.
"Literally" doesn't add any meaning to "falling apart" for me. I suspect that it adds no special meaning for you, either. If so, it may be omitted. This points up the difficulty that "falling apart" isn't particularly descriptive. What is happening to the fantasy world? Is it losing magic cohesion? Is it being destroyed by evil thargs from Mongo? Since this is a summary sentence in the Snowflake method, the last three words might best be replaced with better detail.
If the world is "falling apart" due to the action of a specific character, that's your detail; destroyed by an evil witch, eaten by a rampaging dragon. The summary doesn't require that the characters know what is happening, just that you do. Be descriptive, but brief.
It's good that you've used no names, description is the best way to go. Good luck, Kent
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Thanks so much everyone. I used the word "literally" because the world is falling to pieces (somewhat like Neverending Story, as Denevius pointed out - but that's the only similarity.) I'm going to work on this and post the results. I will definitely avoid the word "literally" (I felt wrong about it anyway.) I'll also work on adjectives.
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Yeah, I wasn't really interested enough to research it myself. Since Justin was asking for feedback based on it, I thought he might be willing to offer the explanation in order to get more useful feedback.
wetwilly, it might be best if Justin explains what he means as sometimes that can lead to a better understanding or greater insight for the explainer, and it might also make sure the terms are solidly determined before complications and confusions arise. Having said that, I just find that lmgtfy.com tends to make me laugh. I promise I offer it only in playful jest.
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I've known the Snowflake Method by similar and ten thousand names. The method is also known as a query pitch line, one stated purpose of the method, a film log line, a TV Guide episode synopsis, the Onion Method, Snowball, Hailstone, Landslide, Avalanche, the elevator pitch, and so on.
The method is also taught by that and other names in study skills and other coursework; as well, in some cases, a method for developing dictionary-like term definitions. In fact, some literary terms' definitions are template Snowflakes and exhibit the method in practice and, though generic, illustrate the method's strengths.
Take "picaresque:" episodic adventures of a roguish protagonist. Episodic form, event description, roguish, and character type -- rogue, to mean edgy and sketchy moral values.
Noir: episodic adventures of a hard-boiled cynic in bleak settings. Form, event, setting, character, and moral values.
Complications implied; rogue and cynic: morally self-complicated and conflicted and externally conflicted and complicated.
Snowflakes distill down event, setting, agonist character, and complication into a working template for a narrative of any length. The method also works as a mnemonic device and focus tool for draft writing and other circumstances. Using twenty-five words or less, maybe ten ideally for memorableness's sake, maybe one word, describe a concept.
Snowflakes are a condensed product of concept research and development. Take dramatic complication, I plowed through many aesthetics texts researching and developing the concept, first found in an aesthetics text, though undefined and inaccessible and name-dropped like an unknown hometown celebrity. Developing the concept, I also tested it comparatively -- comparison and contrast -- with successful narratives and the Snowflake held up to the scrutiny. Complication: antagonizing self-involved and external wants and problems wanting satisfaction. No setting, unlimited setting options, though event, character, moral, and complication; likewise, unlimited options.
A Snowflake runs the risks of being too generic and too condensed, Show and Tell, for example. A self-established definition is in order. Show: in-the-moment scene portrayal from a dramatic persona's perceptions and reactions. Tell: a narrator persona's summary and explanation lecture.
I burnt many a wee-dark-early candle satisfying one writing question -- why some narratives are successful and many are mediocre at best. One line in a grammar handbook, of all things, was the answer I sought, and a Snowflake that condensed all the study concisely: Theme and a response paper's topic is what a narrative expresses about the moral human condition. Paraphrased.
However, a Snowflake may be inaccessible if not focused, and will only raise slight tension emotional and curiosity development, if artfully composed. That former is a Snowflake function, that and focusing a writer's intuition and plan for a narrative. The Snowflake then a metric by which every part, parcel, and whole -- word and punctuation mark, etc. -- may be evaluated for draft writing and revisions. Many writers develop a Snowflake after drafting and use it for revisions.
If a Snowflake is developed during pre-writing phases, some doubt and frustration and time and effort may be saved: Fail to plan, plan to fail, a business proverb, also a Snowflake.
For me, that above theme and moral Snowflake is a firm basis for developing a narrative's Snowflake.
Fantastical fictions' Snowflakes baffled me for a long time, until I realized their theme and moral Snowflakes do not directly one-to-one correspond to motifs. They have degrees of separation gaps, unlike literary fiction, which analysis and interpretation of rely on readily accessible theme and moral motifs. In this way, fantastical fiction is, shall I say, superior to literary fiction puzzles to solve: more challenging narrative puzzles, though amenable to solution and Snowflake no less.
A Snowflake condenses concept development; and from which a snowball expansively accumulates into a transcendent mass and momentum, barreling downhill into making an avalanche. Or the shape for the process may be visualized as two funnels; one wide-opening side up, one wide-opening side down, their narrow-opening side's concentrating apertures in contact. Where the funnels concentrate is the Snowflake. Also a tree method, with roots, trunk, and limbs; the trunk the narrowed part.
@babooher: maybe you just caught me in an offendable mood. Hatchet buried, olive branch extended, hands virtually shaken.
To the original topic, I will say the teddy bear grabbed my attention, partly because it promises to be a fun romp of a story, and partly because it reminds me of a Simon Green novel (titled Shadows Fall, maybe?) I'm also into the world literally falling apart concept, and I think the "literally" is important to that sentence. Without it, I would have understood the sentence metaphorically,;which would have been far less interesting to me.
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