Brainstorming Made Easy(er)

Ever wanted to write but didn’t know what to write about?  Sometimes, you just need something to kick-start your muse.

  • One way to do this is through “flash fiction.” If you don’t like fiction, you can do non-fiction on the same principle.  Set a timer for five minutes and write about the first thing that comes to your mind (even if all you do is describe the room you’re in).  Repeat this process five or six times.  When you’re done, read over what you’ve written.  Maybe something will inspire you to write further.
  • Make six or seven columns (in general, this will work better for more realistic genres, rather than science fiction or fantasy). Title one “People,” another “Places,” perhaps “Issues,” “Eras,” “Interests,” and “Events.”  Subjects like “Things I Want to Know More About” can be problematic unless you want to put in a lot of extra research before you begin to write.  When you have your columns ready, list out five things in each topic that interest you.  When one sparks your interest, try it.

Maybe your problem isn’t knowing what to write, but figuring out how to write about it.  There are brainstorming techniques that can help with that, too.

  • Even if all your research isn’t done, write about what you know.  Don’t worry about punctuation or whether or not you’ll like it.  Just write and see where it takes you.  Even if you reject most of it at the end, there might be something you can work with.
  • Map it out. You know your topic, but you don’t know what to do with it?  You can use either the Hero’s Journey or a simple story element diagram (exposition, rising action, climax, etc.) to help you plot it out.  This can give you a general idea of what you want to accomplish in your story.

I hope you find this helpful!  Is there anything else any of you do to brainstorm ideas?

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