On Brainstorming

On Brainstorming:

I have this template of sorts when it comes to brainstorming. Usually I come with ideas from something I see, something I dream up in the shower (showers are this sort of spot of creative energy for writers. Weird, I know), or a character. Most often it’s a character. Once it was a point I wanted to make, but I never really found out how to make the point in the book. Because most of the time I know about the character first, I make “Character Profiles”. The first section is usually just short word descriptions run together across the page:

  1. Name – First, Last (sometimes middle, just for me!)
  2. Age
  3. Hometown
  4. Special Talents important in book

The I do a “Personality and Interactions” sections which just have words – funny, sweet, nice, loves socks with holes – that sore of thing. A lot of times this has their best friends, inner conflicts, etc. After this is the “Appearance” section with hair color, height, eye color, if the character wears makeup, laugh style, dimple, etc. Then is “Clothing Style”, because I believe what a person wear tells a lot about them. Many times this changes. If I look at my current set of characters there are cross outs and scribbles all of the “Clothing Style” section.

From characters, I work to scenes. Random snippets I think of. I put these in a section labeled “Ideas” under “Brain Dump” which is just bullet pointed, usually. From these scenes, I can usually get an idea of the story line I’m going for. Then, I write a VERY VAGUE outline. It will go something like this:

Chapter One: goes to a park, meet boy who loves squirrels, cries over loss of pet squirrel, reads inspirational quote

Chapter Two: goes to school in different clothes (SYMBOLIZES DEVELOPMENT AS CHARACTER) and convo with friends about change

Basically, it’s just points in the chapter I need to hit. A lot of times I end up putting more in, and the chapters get shifted all around, but whenever I’m stuck, it’s nice to have something to just grab and say, “Okay – now write this” because you have a jumping point. The idea is already there – you just have to write it. More questions about this? Email me!

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