So, I walked to my refrigerator and opened it, only to stare at the contents…No inspiration there either. There are sometimes when cooking dinner is an inspired event full of ideas, cravings and spices. Not. Yesterday.
Yesterday, I needed to make supper and all I had were a cupboard full of ingredients.
Have you been there with your writing? You have an idea of what you need to make a story. All the contents are there, but things aren’t flowing for you like they should.
Time to brainstorm. Here’s why: you have all the basic story pieces, but there is nothing in it that speaks to you as a writer. If it doesn’t speak to you as a writer, then it won’t speak to readers. Even if you are at the beginning and have plotted out this great idea you have, you still need to brainstorm to deepen it, or you will miss an amazing opportunity to create the spectacular.
Five Tips To Remember When Brainstorming Your Novel:
1. Start with the spine. By spine, I mean the three act structure of a book that helps you to lay out the character journey, romance and other plot components in an escalating tension building order that makes your story stronger. A great place to look for these tips is My Book Therapy Library of Articles.
2. Plan Blurting Sessions For Each Major Story Component. You should have a time when you blurt and record or blurt and write the different parts of your story. Each character, subplot, plot points and character change should be blurted about. It might go something like this:
Character: What is your problem? What is your favorite fairy tale? What if you were….
Subplot: How do you feed into the truth of the story? Why is it important? Who should tell this part of the story? What if …..
Plot Points: What bad things can happen to my character? Who can cause them conflict? What internal plot conflict can they have? What external plot conflict can they have? Is there anything that can come in from the outside to complicate things for my character? What if….
Character Change: How are my characters going to be different at the end of the story? What baby steps can they make toward the change? What might make it hard to change? What if….
3. Brainstorm Unexpected Twists. For this point, I am not talking about huge story twists that you find an excellent example of in the book Exposure by Brandilyn Collins. That is an amazing full story twist. What I am referring to here are the small surprises or twists. You can find these by taking your story plot points and asking yourself, What would most people do? Then do the opposite or something very different.
4. Plan A Mini Blurt Session For Each Day. Take ten minutes before you start writing to just start talking about what your going to write about. Ask yourself, Why is this happening? How does it change my character? What would make it deeper? This step often helps you to avoid blank page paralysis.
5. Brainstorm Some Possible Motivations For Your Point Of View Characters To Do Something Unexpected. Some examples: To hide their past, to protect a secret, to protect a loved one, to avoid embarrassment, etc. Remember, with your brainstorming you will have to be more specific about what secret or other motivation they have for their actions and what it might make them do that is unexpected.
Need more tips with brainstorming? Join me at the My Book Therapy Bleacher Chat on the third Monday of each month to learn and practice strategies for brainstorming.
Today we are brainstorming on my blog. Ask any brainstorming question and I will give you a few possible options. I invite everyone to join in to help each person brainstorm. What is your brainstorming Question?