Discover Anagnorisis!

Okay, guys. Here's another post that begins here and continues over on Let the Words Flow. I hope you're not all getting sick of having to click over to the other blog. I promise to write some posts just for this blog very soon! In the meantime, please let me know in the comments if you feel a bit like I'm "dragging you around the web" to finish a post. :)

Anagnorisis (pronounced something like “and ignore all this,”) is a fancy word that refers to the moment in a novel or play when the hero makes a discovery and moves from ignorance to knowledge. If you’ve heard that classic line of dialogue, “Luke, I am your father,” then you have a clear example of a moment of anagnorisis for a character. Not only is the knowledge gained by an instance of anagnorisis often startling, it is generally game-changing. Once the character has this new piece of information, things usually can’t return to the way they were before.

The Greeks developed the use of anagnorisis through Aristotelian tragedy. In this context, anagnorisis went beyond the simple recognition of some previously unknown fact or circumstance; it generally involved the recognition of a previously hidden “truth.” The hero’s discovery went beyond the sudden awareness of another person, but included awareness of that person’s true nature.

In the Aristotelian tradition, the best tragedies involve a moment of anagnorisis when the hero discovers his or her own true identity or nature. Consider, for example, Oedipus, who kills his father and marries his mother without knowing what he is doing, but later, at the moment of anagnorisis, discovers the truth. Compare this to the tragedy of Medea, who kills her own children, but is aware that they are her children all along. Aristotle believed that the best tragic heroes were those who experienced a sudden understanding of themselves and their actions – an anagnorisis that came too late.

To read the rest of the post click here to go to Let the Words Flow.


The Snowflake Method of Drafting a Novel

If the idea of methodically building your novel appeals to you, then the Snowflake Method, designed by Randy Ingermanson, might be just what you are looking for. (A link to Ingermanson’s site can be found at the end of this post.)

The Snowflake Method contains ten steps. These ten steps will take you from your concept to a completed first draft.


Step One – Write a one-sentence summary of your novel. The best summary sentence is one that includes a reference to the character who has the most to lose and the thing he or she wants most to win. The one-sentence summary for Suzanne Collins’s THE HUNGER GAMES would be something like this, “A girl tries to stay alive in a fight to the death against twenty-three other teens that is aired on live television.”

Step Two – Expand your sentence into a full paragraph. In this paragraph, you should include the story set-up, each disaster, and the ending. You can decide the cause of each disaster, whether it is internally caused or brought on by external circumstances, and include those details as well.

Step Three – Next, your characters. For each of your major characters, write a one page summary sheet that includes the following:

  • The character’s name
  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?)
  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline
Read the rest of this post on my group blog, Let the Words Flow, here.