Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brainstorming to Break Writers' Block

Brainstorming is one of my favorite ways to defeat writers' block. It's very easy and you can come up with a lot of ideas. You don't even have to use them all then. Some could be saved for later scenes or even other novels. You never know what you'll come up with.

Step 1: Open a blank Word doc. You can also brainstorm right on the manuscript, but I like to have a fresh page for my brainstorming. I'm weird that way.

Step 2: Use bullets. This is the easiest way to keep your brain vomit organized.

Step 3: Write down any and all ideas of what could happen next. No matter how stupid it sounds, write it down. This is very important. Give yourself permission to write down things that would never happen in a million years. This opens up the brain space for new ideas to be created and may even give you a springboard for a scene later in the novel. Think back to any small threads that might be fleshed out into a larger plot point. Think "what's the worst that could happen?" Remind yourself of your characters' motivations and arcs and try to see if there is a way you could advance them. Think ahead to what's going to happen in the future (if you already know) and what happened in the past. See if there is anything that could happen between those points to advance the plot.

Step 4: Once you have all your ideas written down, go through them. If any of them gives you that "I can't wait to write" feeling, run with it. Combine ideas if you want. Cross out any that definitely wouldn't work in your story.

Step 5: Put that idea into action and get writing!


Margo Berendsen said...

Hey, this is a really good tip! Thanks for sharing... I need a bit of brainstorming help right now.