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Monday, May 30, 2011

There's a Brainstorm Brewing

I’m so glad you liked the query I crafted for the story you guys came up with. I had fun, so I might make the What If game and query a monthly feature. I’m wild and crazy like that.

I made a boatload of progress on the pages I’m revising rewriting, but I allowed myself some time to just sit and think about this new idea that’s been bugging me. I’m not sure how everyone else brainstorms (I have this feeling it’s intense and structured and I’m a giant dork for not knowing the trick just yet) but I thought I’d share what works for me.

For starters, I don’t need to have a strict outline when I start writing, but I at least like to know where I’m starting, the main conflict and characters, a few key scenes, and the end.

I’m really visual, and when I’m writing it’s as if the story’s playing out like a movie. Before I even start a new project, I find some music that captures the tone I want the story to have. Once I have a good playlist, I lie down with headphones in. And I watch the story unfold.

Sometimes I do this for a single scene I’m stuck on, but at the start of a project it’s all open and free. I’ll think about certain scenes and watch the characters interact and see where they go from there.

It’s easier for me to think about what might happen next or what obstacles I might throw at my characters when I’m watching this “movie” behind my eyes. Somehow, staring at a blank document, my brain stops buzzing with thoughts and ideas. 

Actually, I take that back. It’s still buzzing with thoughts, but none of them have anything to do with the story. Usually they’re like, “I could use another glass of water” or “I need to file my nails.”

How do you brainstorm a new story idea?

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