A melodic idea is an original idea for a melody. A variant is a melody based on that idea. Here are the variant techniques:
A variant melody is a slightly different melody to its predecessor. It is easy to develop a melodic idea into a sequence of variants by varying the original idea to get a first variant, varying that to get a second, and continuing on like this as long as you want. There are so many ways to vary a single melody that you might need only one melodic idea to write a complete piece of music. This type of organic music is known as theme and variation.
These variation techniques can be used at any time in the writing process, in any order you wish, and as many times as you like. Skip a technique that does not work or does not interest you. Re-use any technique over and over again as a factory for creating variants, or store a variant in the memory bank and use it later to create a new melody.