The Writing Process: Brainstorming

One question I am often asked about when people find out I’m a writer is: How do you come up with all those ideas? It’s a fair question and this week’s blogs are dedicated to looking at bit at The Writing Process. I’d like to clarify at the start that these are only strategies that work for me and perhaps the one thing I can say that works the best is reading books about writing and trying something new. This keeps my writing fresh and helps me grow as a writing.

Brainstorming! First, there’s an idea. How I come up with an idea is varied. There are certainly good methods and the most common I’ve heard is to set aside time to write about ideas. For example: take five minutes and write down as many settings as you can think of. Then do the same for characters or plot, etc. You get the idea and you may have tried this yourself. This is certainly a great idea, and I have gotten good ideas out of it, but sadly nothing that has ever worked into a book or story.

Okay, so that was a writing tip. But back to what how story ideas work for me. Usually they come to me. I do have a very active imagination, so turning it off tends to be a problem.

Second, once inspiration hits, I sit down at my computer with a completely blank Word document and begin typing out ideas. I ask questions to try to figure out the back story and what type of journey I see taking place for this character. I do this over a few days/weeks until the idea starts to form.

Third, once those ideas start to come together into a very loose plot, I begin to put them in order and keep adding ideas of possible scenes. Nothing is in any specific order and it certainly isn’t how the story will eventually unfold. No, right now it’s a jumble of ideas building off each other in point form. It’s details about characters and building of backstory.

Fourth, something else that usually happens at this stage is research. With the brainstorming comes a need for further discovery. Perhaps I want to use unicorns in this fantasy book, so I search for what’s written and known about unicorns and then add my own spin. Therefore, in the midst of my brainstorming is notes are further notes. These build off of each other as the ideas continue to percolate.

(Picture created with Canva)

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