Monday, April 18, 2011

Time for Brainstorming Anyone?

Major brainstorming sessions are part of my writing process, but they don't occur too often. At the beginning, I spend a lot of time thinking about different directions the story could go, until the outline takes shape. I also have a major think when I get stuck and the writing stops flowing. I spend hours considering possibilities for what might happen next.

In Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell suggests writers have a regular time that's just for generating ideas. Interesting.

I can see how it might help me to move beyond the obvious and find the unique. What's hard would be to make myself take the time, when I already feel that I don't have enough time for writing. But for the next few weeks I'm going to try it: just take 15 minutes once a week and brainstorm about my next novel. I'll get back to you about whether it's useful or not.

How often do you just brainstorm ideas?

10 comments:

  1. i will sit down somewhere quiet, maybe some music playing, and try to have interesting ideas. Nothing happens. I'll start getting distracted by little things but force myself to concentrate. Still nothing. Then I'll get up to make something to eat, halfway through buttering some toast I'll be rushing around to find a pen to note down the sudden flood of ideas. I think my brain does it just to annoy me.

    -mood
    Moody Writing

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  2. I find myself doing it all the time. I do it in the shower, while I wash the dishes, when gardening, sometimes while driving... any time really. :)
    And yes, it is helpful. A lot of the ideas I end up using in the current book I am writing.

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  3. I was just brainstorming last night! But I don't do it once a week. I can see where that would be a good idea. I just don't know if it's one of those good ideas I'll follow up on. Maybe.

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  4. That's a great idea! I always feel like I should be writing during free time, so I save brainstorming for the shower or as I'm falling asleep (which is stupid because I lose a lot of ideas from being too lazy to move six times to write stuff down). Thanks for the post!

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  5. I'm a walker, so I tend to do the most brainstorming while on a morning walk. But I can also see how setting a specific time aside for it would be helpful--especially in the beginning stages of a new project. Thanks for the tip--I'm going to give it a try :-)

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  6. I usually keep a notebook for each new idea/book project. Sometimes, I even take magazines and make collages too! This is the most fun part of the process for me (probably why I take so long, LOL).

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  7. I do get ideas that come to me at times when I'm not writing, but I'm like Jess: I feel like I should use writing time for writing. But I'm going to try making a time for brainstorming to see how it works out. Kenda, maybe I'll start doing that morning walk too. I think the fresh air helps light up those brain cells.

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  8. If I'm not writing it, my story spins and storms in my head till I get it out. It can be very distracting sometimes.

    My friend just gave me a great tip for brainstorming that she got for the Reader's Digest Webinar on writing mystery. She said they recommend starting the brainstorm with discovering your protag then ask "What if this happened?" Then immediately answer that with "Yes, so then what if?" Continue the what if game till you have a crazy train of ideas, incidents, action, intrigue and then edit out the ones you don't like.

    good luck.

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  9. That's a great tip, Brooke. I was using "what if" during my revision process, as in "what if I cut this huge scene and see if I need it", and some interesting new direction emerged.

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  10. For a while, I spent 10 minutes every morning brainstorming ideas for stories and articles...only I found that I was coming up with more ideas that I wanted to pursue than time in which to pursue them! Now I tend to brainstorm on more of an as-needed basis :)

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