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Brainstorming methods?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Jessquoi, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Jessquoi

    Jessquoi Troubadour

    I've spent the last few days trying to brainstorm on a few ideas I've had for a story, because the ideas are braod and incomplete. I''m interested in hearing from other writers what you do when you decide to brainstorm. Do you create maps of ideas? Do you listen to music?
  2. Addison

    Addison Auror

    For me it really depends on a few things. My energy level, how big the idea and what tools I have before me. I'll write out the one-five sentence summary of the idea. Maybe I'll add a sketch. Other times I'll write in margins. If I make it home to my desk and my energy is really high like "Oh my god this great!" then I pull out sticky notes and index cards and write on them. That's usually how I do it. Index cards serve to describe events, characters, place and the post its add details like how this setting is connected to that event etc.

    But honestly I don't brainstorm until the first draft is done. Unless I have writer's block then I'll brainstorm. I'm more of a 'seat of the pants' writer.
    Jessquoi likes this.
  3. Jessquoi

    Jessquoi Troubadour

    I'm working on a first draft, but I've got holes in my plot. I feel like if I don't fill them up I won't be able to finish the first draft. Hence why I'm interested to see what other due when they brainstorm.
    On the other hand it might just be better for me to keep writing and discover the rest of the plot as I go. Still, there are somethings I'd like to have sorted out before I continue.
  4. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    I find that if lie down with my eyes closed and just ask myself questions about the story, things will pop into my head. I ask myself, what if this or that happend? How would that change will effect the story as a whole?
  5. writeshiek33

    writeshiek33 Sage

    coming up with some basic stuff is easy for me but hard to put my down i have a rough idea mentally and write as i go by that i create a rough draft and hopefully world build at the same time i can see the general big picture but breaking it down hard i am living contradiction as a writer
  6. Jessquoi

    Jessquoi Troubadour

    Im not sure I totally understand what this means, maybe if you edited it a bit for grammar?
  7. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    I set a timer on my phone for 10 minutes, and then just freewrite until it goes off, with a 500 word aim (my basic average typing rate of 50 WPM x 10 minutes). I explore the problem and consider elements that I could bring into it or what I want from it or what has inspired me or given me ideas recently. I write about what I think of the topic or problem, what I think might be the cause, or even random completely unrelated things that end up looping back to a possible solution, or else fizzle out. Sometimes I look at the root causes of the issue, and try and find ways to remove it as a problem by taking a different path; other times I look at ways to break through it by means of characters or elements of the world.

    Sometimes these sessions are very useful, sometimes not. But after two or three of them, just splurging thoughts onto the page, I usually have some idea of where to go next.
    Jessquoi likes this.
  8. Filk

    Filk Troubadour

    If I'm stuck I will brainstorm, which usually involves drawing maps of every scale or trying to solidify cultures. I've often found that that gets me nowhere with my story. What usually works is to start writing. Blast through a bunch of drivel and maybe you'll get something good. That's generally how I make progress hehe. Sometimes just having two characters sit down and chat will bring up something good that you can use.

    Also, always listen to music; it keeps the errant noise out.
    Jessquoi likes this.
  9. Jessquoi

    Jessquoi Troubadour

    Thanks Filk. I've got a chapter where two important character have a long chat. I'm going to write it now and see what happens. Maybe they'll fill the plot holes themselves.
  10. advait98

    advait98 Sage

    Yeah, I've often found that as my ignorant MC talks to a very knowledgeable person about something, the idea and the question build upon themselves and I find various solutions to many holes in the plot (although of course I find that I will have to cut a page or two of dialogue, but it's worth it). Best brainstorming method as far as I'm concerned.
    Jessquoi likes this.
  11. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    One method that even multi-awardwinners use is to sit down and type to yourself: okay okay I've got to get them to the tower but they just don't have a reason to go, they're exhausted from the fight and all, oh maybe it's the fight that does it, one goes out for healing supplies and gets in trouble but that's too obvious, really wish I had a juicy bit of characterization that worked but maybe....


    But, the strongest tool --and maybe the best overall aid for any writer-- is the right friend or two to bounce ideas off of. Someone you work well with, but especially someone who gives you a good other perspective on it all.
    Jessquoi and Chilari like this.
  12. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

    The new technique I am trying right now is to list everything I want my story to feature. What kind of characters do I want, what kind of actions do they take, what sort of events happen to them, and what places do they visit? Once you have that list, figure out the connections between as many of the items on your list as possible. That should help in crafting a story you would enjoy.
  13. Jamber

    Jamber Sage

    The art of writing to deadline is making useful daydreams happen on cue. That's not easy. Talking to another person, the dog or a wall can help -- anything to reframe the issue and make it appeal to a different part of the mind.

    Maps, bubble charts, going for walks, flipping magazines... Try not to fish for only one type of fish, but reel in anything that bites. One idea just might be worth taking home.

  14. Helen

    Helen Inkling

    Yes. But it's not random brainstorming. It's strategic.

    There's a problem. So how is that gonna roll out?

    Characters will change. So who changes? How?

    It's targeted thinking. Based on knowing what has to be done. Which sets up lots of questions, which have to be answered.

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